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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of Linguistics

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WPP, No. 108: Production and Perception of Taiwan Mandarin Syllable Contraction


Taiwan Mandarin syllable contraction is a lenition process which involves the elision of the intervocalic segments and the merger of the tonal elements of two syllables. In this present study, it is shown that syllable contraction is optional with the trough depth distribution as the evidence. Trough depth is also employed as the measure for gradience. In the perception experiment, listeners were asked to do a forced-choice identification task and the accuracy was generally high. The results from the production experiment not only verifies that syllable contraction is optional and gradient, but also show that durations and F0 range are the acoustic cues that contribute to the distinction between the fullycontracted tokens and the lexical tokens.

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