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
1 vote
2 answers
109 views

Where does the "o" sound fit into Chinese phonology? Is it a mid vowel?

So I've been looking at San Duanmu's The Phonology of Standard Chinese, and in the vowel section, the pinyin /o/ from 中 is not mentioned. An allophone of the middle vowel is described as [o], which is ...
Senjougahara Hitagi's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
79 views

Why Pinyin's "声母" and "韵母" were translated as "initials" and "finals"?

Why Pinyin's "声母" and "韵母" were translated as "Initials" and "Finals", but not as "sound-mother" and "rime-mother"? What is the meaning of &...
PdotWang's user avatar
  • 3,982
2 votes
0 answers
32 views

Discrepancies between the rimes of a character and its lower character in Guangyun?

𥏙 and 䂕, for instance, are classified into 去聲十三祭韻 according to Guangyun, while their lower characters, 吠, are classified into 去聲二十廢韻. Is there any research that provides a list of (hopefully) all ...
hmje's user avatar
  • 149
1 vote
1 answer
145 views

Can 徐 develop a sound mo1?

徐 has initial 邪, which I don't immediate see the connection with [m]. 徐 has rhyme 鱼, which mostly developed into u(ü) and a. I cannot think of how the mo1 sound can be developed. 徐 is 形声字 (Phono-...
lilysirius's user avatar
  • 4,485
1 vote
2 answers
269 views

What’s the deal with the xing-type readings for 行?

How come did the readings of the xing-category appear for 行? They make no sense. The Early Middle Chinese for “to walk” is γæng, which should give héng – and so it does, in 胻, 蘅, 桁 – even with the ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
  • 1,001
0 votes
1 answer
95 views

How can learner distinguish 察館 vs. 茶館 in Mandarin phonetically?

I like to practice my Mandarin with staff at a 茶館 (tea house). After my months of trying, and after their months guffawing at me, they advise me that my pronunciation of 茶館 STILL sounds like 察館 (...
User's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
1 answer
123 views

erhua in loanwords — 模特兒 mótèr?

OK, so I was browsing Wiktionary — as one does — and found out about the word 模特兒 'model', which is apparently pronounced mótèr, with just 2 syllables. there's also an alternative pronunciation, mótè'...
matias's user avatar
  • 11
4 votes
4 answers
275 views

How to create a Chinese sentence using multiple different meanings of the same sounding word?

I just realized that Chinese can have several unrelated meanings under the same sound (though often they are given different Chinese characters/symbols). For example, gān can be: 干 (to interfere, dry,...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,216
2 votes
1 answer
277 views

jiu3 pronounced as jiu4 ; linked speech feature or slip of the tongue?

Here is the intonation that is recorded in an instructional video for the clause 我已经很久都不过中秋节了 (wǒ yǐjīng hěn jiǔ dōu bú guò zhōngqiūjié le). 久 is very prominently pronounced with a descending ...
Papa Smurf's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
173 views

A Cantonese-influenced Old National Pronunciation (老國音) system

I need advice/help on creating a system similar to the Old National Pronunciation system/language for a worldbuilding project called Roses, Tulips, and Liberty. Some background: Imagines, it's a world ...
Omar 's user avatar
  • 41
3 votes
2 answers
180 views

Yue/Min/Wu/Gan/mandarin phonetic correspondance

I am looking for a table of the regular phonetic correspondances between the different chinese varieties (Yue, Wu, Gan, Min, Mandarin...). For instance I noted a g (Yue)/j(mandarin) correspondance (e....
Mathias's user avatar
  • 131
4 votes
4 answers
394 views

Why does "yin" (陰) comes first in "yin-yang" (陰陽)?

In the yin-yang dynamic, yang is pretty much always the dominant force: it represents the sun (the "great yang", 太陽), brightness, positivity (陽性), masculinity (the penis, 陽物), the living (陽間,...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
408 views

Reconstruction of Old Chinese "少"

There are many characters that have the initial "m-" and contain "少" as a phonetic element at the same time, such as 妙, 秒, 眇, 竗, etc. I thought this was a good reason to judge that ...
hmje's user avatar
  • 149
5 votes
1 answer
437 views

Pronunciation of 什么

什么 (shénme) sounds to my ears more like (shéme). Assuming I'm hearing correctly, is this just a common contraction of this word, or is the sequence "-n" + "m-" generally contracted ...
大胳膊雅各布's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
101 views

Does 䁤=香季切 and 侐=火季切 being separate 小韻s in 廣韻 imply anything?

Link Is it something related to 重紐? If not, how can I interpret this?
hmje's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
1 answer
191 views

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 ...
hmje's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
1 answer
212 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 ...
Andre's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes
1 answer
196 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 ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
12 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
3 votes
2 answers
338 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 &...
Enrico Brasil's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
144 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 ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
1 vote
4 answers
566 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 ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
0 votes
5 answers
524 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 ...
MuchAppreciated25's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
226 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 ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
3 votes
2 answers
154 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?
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
4 votes
2 answers
226 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 ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
117 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?
Ehab Sal's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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?
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 163
1 vote
0 answers
181 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 ...
GJC's user avatar
  • 381
4 votes
1 answer
213 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.
GJC's user avatar
  • 381
2 votes
3 answers
205 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 ...
NanningYouth's user avatar
  • 2,624
2 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Sweeper's user avatar
  • 318
2 votes
1 answer
156 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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 78.3k
3 votes
2 answers
821 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 ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
  • 15.6k
2 votes
1 answer
198 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 ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
  • 15.6k
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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.
Brennan Vincent's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
174 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 ...
Elliott B.'s user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
135 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 ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
1 vote
1 answer
472 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 ...
foobar's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
蘇德兰's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
396 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 ...
Colin McLarty's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
895 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 ...
user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
3k 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 is ...
faure's user avatar
  • 540
10 votes
3 answers
14k 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 ...
Pedroski's user avatar
  • 18.1k
8 votes
2 answers
512 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 - ...
Enrico Brasil's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
sqrtbottle's user avatar
  • 1,445
7 votes
2 answers
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 ...
user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
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? ...
Max's user avatar
  • 183
6 votes
1 answer
440 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 ...
amorimluc's user avatar
  • 749
14 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
Danke Xie's user avatar
  • 1,268