Questions tagged [phonology]

Phonology is a branch of linguistics concerned with the systematic organization of sounds in languages. It has traditionally focused largely on study of the systems of phonemes in particular languages, but it may also cover any linguistic analysis either at a level beneath the word or at all levels of language where sound is considered to be structured for conveying linguistic meaning.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3
votes
1answer
113 views
+100

Why are 端母 and 知母 considered as distinct initials in Early Middle Chinese even though they share same 上字's such as 都 or 丁, while 幫母 and 非母 are not?

There are some examples such as 樁=都江, where the initial of the original character is 知母 (in modern classification) while the one of it's upper character is 端母. Meanwhile, Chen Li considered the ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

What's the exact realization of Chinese glides (in medial position)?

While in some transcriptions you might encounter the IPA [j], [ɥ], and [w] for the medial glides, there are also transcriptions with IPA [ʲ], [ʷ] and [ᶣ]. Glides can have many interpretations ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

What does the inital /dⁿ/ stand for?

While answering @Qiangong2's question here: Are Characters customized in different provinces due to dialectal differences? I was looking through the table on 四川方言字. On the table the following initial ...
10
votes
2answers
315 views

Why does Mandarin Chinese have a smaller inventory of unique syllables?

From How languages compare with the number of different syllables from all words?, considering the 20,000 most frequent words in each language, Mandarin Chinese has 1274 different syllables (see also ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

How do Chinese call the sound “i”

In the Chinese language, we have a "clean i" sound (for example, when linked to "ji", "li", "pi") and a "dirty i" sound (for example, when linked to &...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

What do the /pf/ & /pfʰ/ initials sound like in Central Plains Mandarin?

I was flipping through the Xi'an dialect volume of the Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects. On p. 206 I came across: and on p. 207 there is: There is the /pf/ initial and the aspirated ...
1
vote
4answers
153 views

How to distinguish between homophone words 再 and 在 zài

I wonder how one can distinguish in an oral conversation between homophone words: 再 and 在, as both have the same pronunciation zài. For example, in the sentence Wǒ zài kàn diànyǐng. how one can ...
0
votes
5answers
245 views

How to pronounce 學 “shwehh”, “shoo-ehh”, or “xüüehh”?

According to pinyin pronunciation guides, 學 should be pronounced x + ü + e with a rising tone. This should verbally sound something like 1) a shh- with tip of tongue close to your bottom teeth ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

Taiwanese Guoyu vs. Putonghua 阴平/阳平 tone split?

I might be reading too much into this and seeing things that aren't there. But, I think, I'm seeing a pattern between some dialects and Mandarin. The following characters seem to have some sort of ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

How to read these vowel diagrams?

I've come across a couple of vowel diagrams. Here one: Here's another: I'm not really sure how to interpenetrate these charts. Any ideas?
4
votes
2answers
187 views

Are there northern dialects which still preserve velars before front vowels?

It's well known that Modern Standard Mandarin has merged what were historically velar stops and alveolar silibants when followed by front vowels. For instance, 京 is "jing" rather than "ging", and 津 is ...
-1
votes
2answers
106 views

Hi. what chinese or Mandarin word sounds phonetically like the word omniyat

what chinese or Mandarin word sounds phonetically like the word omniyat. And what is the meaning of that chinese word?
4
votes
2answers
935 views

Can Chinese words start with a vowel?

I've been searching around for random words. Dragon = long, green = lǜsè, river = he... I can't seem to find any words that start with a vowel. Do any Chinese words start with a vowel?
1
vote
0answers
128 views

Tone contours along diphthongs [closed]

I'd like to know as much as possible about how tone contours (T2, T3, T4) are distributed along Mandarin/standard rhyme diphthongs, especially ai ei ao ou, with references to academic articles if ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Can a neutral tone appear on a non-final syllable?

Can a neutral/fifth tone appear in a word syllable other than the last one? If so, as a lexical tone, a sandhi tone or both? Adding a few examples would be helpful.
2
votes
3answers
194 views

What is the right spelling, 乌兹别克 or 乌孜别克?

China is a country of multiple ethnicities, some of which can also be found in its neighboring countries, like Russia and Koreas. So the same ethnic groups are named the same as that in such other ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between voiced and “unaspirated” consonants and how can I check if I got it correct?

I heard from somewhere that there are no voiced consonants in Mandarin. Wikipedia says that consonants like the pinyin "d", "b", "g" are "unaspirated", whatever that means... Although my first ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the 平仄 rule in 無情對

I am fascinated by 無情對, It is two of my attempts: 四川特產北菇 (Sichuan specialty mushroom) 三洋通用東芝 (Sanyo, GM, Toshiba) ~ 今朝書店晚開 (Bookstore open late today) 現代本田日產 (Hyundai, Honda, Nissan) (All in ...
3
votes
2answers
495 views

Is Cantonese a better choice in studying classic of poetry (詩經)?

Again, I ask this question, and provide my opinion as an answer, to reply to the comment of another thread in Stack Exchange: Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry Now, I ask again: in studying ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Is Cantonese a better choice in looking for characters in rime dictionary (韻書)?

I ask this question, and provide my opinion as an answer, to reply to the comment of another tread in stack exchange: Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry The rationale is that it is difficult to ...
4
votes
2answers
765 views

Are `sh` and `x` really different phonemes, or just different realizations of the same phoneme?

I can't think of any minimal pairs; like shu vs. xu probably shouldn't count as a minimal pair since the vowel is different.
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Are there any pre-modern/non-romanization examples of attempts to alphabetize Chinese?

Were there any attempts to alphabetize Chinese that did not involve writing systems existing in other languages already? This would be something like a Chinese analogue to the development of the ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What is this “XX” 開 “#” “上/平/入/去” “XX” method for describing character pronunciation?

Here is an incredibly horrible quality excerpt (read: screenshot) from 《四川邛崍油榨方言記》: here's the highlights from 2 ər that I wanted to point out: 爾 止開三上紙日 兒 止開三平支日 而 止開三平之日 二 止開三去至日 and for contrast ...
1
vote
1answer
323 views

Is Chinese really that ambigous in oral communication?

"I still am super grateful that all TV shows in China have subtitles (in Chinese) because even Chinese people will get a bit confused as to what's being said without the characters specifying which of ...
1
vote
2answers
787 views

Is there a chart of all possible Chinese syllables using Hanzi?

I have been able to find many charts that describe all possible Initial and Final combinations in pinyin, but I'm wondering if there is anything available like that that uses Hanzi only? I made ...
5
votes
1answer
292 views

Help with pronouncing 道 precisely

Practical conclusion from the responses: No digital media currently focus on the precise pronunciation of Pinyin Dao, or Beijing for English speaking students of Chinese. You must look to sources on ...
4
votes
3answers
547 views

Does Cantonese or Mandarin contain the voiced or voiceless velar fricative?

Update: I apologise effusively for writing ɤ instead of ɣ, which I had intended all along. Preface: I represent the voiceless velar fricative with its IPA phone [x], and the voiced velar fricative ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Which is the most frequently used tone?

The most difficult for me in learning Chinese is memorizing the correct tone. I tried to find on web what the most frequently used tones are, but it seems to be hard to find. I suppose if one tone ...
10
votes
3answers
10k views

How many syllables does Chinese have?

I'm just reading a book about China and Chinese customs from Heike Barai. She says that Chinese only has around 300 different syllables, whereas modern German has about 10 000 and I suppose English is ...
7
votes
2answers
421 views

Neutral tone and erhua (儿化) working as a word distinguisher

I know there are some words in which the use of neutral tone distinguish them the word from their non neutral equivalent, like: 东西 - dong1xi1 - from east to west 东西 - dong1xi - thing 虾子 - xia1zi3 - ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Chinese views on Erhua

I'm already well acquainted with erhua (儿化) in putonghua, essentially appending 儿 to the ends of words (or reading it when 儿 isn't written, as sometimes people do with 花 or 八点 etc). Many of these ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How is non-standard Cantonese spoken by some mainland Chinese speakers different from “standard” pronunciation?

As someone who's more or less a native Cantonese speaker, I've noticed that some speakers from mainland China (from Cantonese speaking areas) sound "weird", in that I could clearly notice a difference ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Macau Cantonese, any differences from HK?

Does anyone know how Cantonese from Macau differ from HK if there are any? Any slangs or terms used in Macanese Cantonese that is rarely used or heard in HK? Maybe some sinicised portuguese words? ...
6
votes
1answer
376 views

Is 勺 really the phonetic component of 的?

The etymology of 的 is described here. Is this resource correct is saying that 勺 is this character's phonetic component? I ask because it doesn't seem to hint at the correct pronunciation at all. 勺 is ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Did ancient Chinese have tones (声调)?

This question has puzzled me since I have no training in ancient Chinese and ancient phonetics. What is puzzling me are the following facts: The tones in different regions are quite different. If ...
3
votes
3answers
224 views

Phonetic clue of characters in languages or dialects other than Mandarin?

Many characters are made up of a semantic and a phonetic part. Is the phonetic part only valid with regards to Mandarin pronunciation? Or not even for Mandarin in all cases? Or does it work with for ...
8
votes
2answers
610 views

Where can I find isogloss maps for Mandarin?

It seems that questions about resources are generally accepted on the site. If not, please let me know. I was wondering if anyone knew where to find maps with isoglosses for dialects of Mandarin. I ...
6
votes
2answers
477 views

Chinese [Topolectical] IPA Placeholder: Ẓ

I've asked this elsewhere before but without much luck so I'm just gonna paste what I wrote before: I ran across "Ẓ" use some what in some old texts used as a sort-of "IPA" then to ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “biang” a phonologically possible syllable in Mandarin Chinese?

One of the local specialty favourite dishes in Shaanxi province where I am now is Biángbiáng miàn. Photo by hippietrail The hanzi character for "biáng" is usually the focus of discusssions of this ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How do Chinese spell English words over the phone?

In English, if I am spelling my name for someone over the phone I can use a phonetic alphabet to ensure they get my name right. Especially for potentially ambiguous letters; d and t, b and p, c and e, ...
7
votes
3answers
11k views

Where can I find Chinese IPA transcriptions?

Since I have some experience of using IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), I thought Standard Chinese transcriptions could be a good resource for practicing my pronunciation. Is such a resource ...
6
votes
1answer
460 views

Dissimilation of bilabial finals following Middle Chinese (法, 品, 凡)

Middle Chinese syllables with the shape CVP where C is a bilabial stop and P is a bilabial underwent dissimilation to CVF, where F = P[-labial]. For instance, Baxter's reconstruction of 法 is *pjop, 品 ...
7
votes
2answers
702 views

The development of rhotic vowels in Mandarin

Schuessler's reconstruction of the Old Chinese reading of 二 is *ńźi. It seems there is a correspondence between OC syllables beginning in *ń or *ńź and Mandarin syllables romanised as er. However, I'...