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PhD Defence

The production and perception of incomplete tonal neutralization

Wednesday 13 November 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


Through a series of well-controlled experiments, this dissertation provides a comprehensive study of incomplete tonal neutralization regarding both production and perception in Dalian Mandarin. Dalian Mandarin is used in this instance, as it is known for its interesting tonal characteristics between Tone 1 and Tone 4, the two falling tones. Its Tone 2 and Tone 3 are also comparable with Standard Chinese. Therefore, Dalian Mandarin presents us with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of incomplete tonal neutralization in both isolation and tonal contexts. Results from acoustic data confirm that the two falling tones in Dalian Mandarin are incompletely neutralized and sound changes of the two tones’ neutralization are still in progress. Lexical factors such as lexical frequency and homophone neighborhood density affect the process of tonal neutralization. Results from eye-movement data show that listeners could distinguish between the two neutralizing tones. Listeners are very sensitive to the fine-grained F0 information in the auditory stimuli for tones in isolation and in the given contexts. Moreover, results also indicate that there is a positive correlation between the isolated tone’s production and perception. This dissertation is the first to quantitatively analyze the relationship between tonal production and perception for sound change in progress. Results of this dissertation could assist in further understanding the nature of tonal neutralization.

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  • Prof. N.O. Schiller


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PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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