Based on over 400 character readings in the Nancheng city dialect of Eastern Jiangxi, a synchronic phonology is outlined and some sound correspondences with the Qie Yun system are worked out. Nancheng city dialect has the general characteristics of a Gan dialect and some Min-like developments in its rhyme system. Its principal feature of interest is the glottalization of upper Departing, a shortish tone with a sharp, metallic, ringing voice quality, ending in a clear-cut fashion, though not in a glottal stop. A comparison of the spectral properties of this and other tones shows upper Departing to be characterized by a weaker first harmonic. This dialect, as well as others in the same area, bears witness to the claim, made elsewhere, that Middle Chinese Departing tone was characterized by glottalized phonation.

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale
Authors: Jiayin GAO and Pierre HALLÉ

This study investigates the relations between tone, voicing, and voice quality in modern Shanghai Chinese. In low tone syllables, word-initial obstruent onsets are traditionally described as voiceless and breathy, and sonorant onsets as voiced and breathy.

Our study is based on acoustic and electroglottographic (EGG) data from speakers of two age groups (20–30 vs. 60–80 years). Our results are globally in line with previous studies, but with notable differences. In low tone syllables, while word-initial stops are phonetically voiceless most of the time, fricatives are quite often phonetically voiced. While low tone obstruent onsets are followed by breathier vowels than high tone onsets, this pattern is not clear-cut for nasal onsets. Furthermore, our transversal data show that low tone breathiness is more systematically produced by elderly – especially male – speakers, rather than young speakers, suggesting an on-going change towards the loss of breathiness.

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale