Characterising intonation in Plastic Mandarin using polynomial modelling

An example figure of pitch contours by a speaker


This paper presents an experimental investigation of pitch variations of tone sequences under different contexts in Plastic Mandarin, a newly-formed contact-induced regional Mandarin variety. Instead of describing f0 variations of a single tone-bearing unit, the f0 contours of trisyllabic phrases varying in tonal composition, utterance position, and focus condition were examined by building orthogonal polynomial models on production data elicited from connected semi-spontaneous natural speech. The coefficients of the models that capture the shape of f0 contours were subjected to further linear mixed effects analysis. This study reveals the synergistic effects of tone interactions, focus, and declination, exerted on the f0 of the whole phrase in an integrated manner. The findings enhance our knowledge of a prevalent yet scarcely studied Mandarin variety and contribute to the on-going research into the dynamic realisation of tone and intonation in connected speech.

Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPHS19). Melbourne, Australia. pp.696-700