Article published in:Regional Chinese in Contact
Edited by James A. Walker
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 5:1] 2019
► pp. 28–49
Tone mergers in Cantonese
Evidence from Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai
This study investigates tone mergers in the Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai. From these three cities, 150 native Cantonese speakers were recruited, stratified by gender and age. Acoustic analyses show that Hong Kong Cantonese and Macao Cantonese are actively merging T2 and T5, T3 and T6, thus becoming similar to Zhuhai Cantonese in tonal inventory. The social motivations of the changes are attributed to contact among these Cantonese-speaking communities as well as their contact with Putonghua. Responses to a questionnaire on language use in different domains shows the spread of Putonghua in Hong Kong and Macao and seems to correlate with the advance of the tone mergers. More specifically, the spread of Putonghua in Hong Kong seems to be rolling back the effects of Cantonese standardization, as shown by the tone mergers in the youngest generation in Hong Kong.
Keywords: sociophonetics, tone merger, contact, standardization, Putonghua
Keywords: 社会语音学, 声调合并, 接触, 标准化, 普通话
Published online: 13 June 2019
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Cited by other publications
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