Vietnamese tones in the syllable /la/ in the North and South and tones in Vietnamese reduplications

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Abstract

The paper provides a description and a small investigation of the Vietnamese tonal system in different dialects in which six Vietnamese tones and tones in reduplications contribute to lexical function and tone harmony. The aim of the study is to further understand the tonal system in Vietnamese as well as the usages of tone registers in different patterns of Vietnamese reduplications. It also aims to analyze the similarities and differences in Northern and Southern Vietnamese tones in the syllable /la/ and the prominent syllable in reduplicative disyllables. The passage including six tones in /la/ and some reduplicative words created by the author was recorded by two Vietnamese males in Northern (NVN) and Southern (SVN) dialects. The analysis made use of Praat to see different prosodic elements; typically pitch contour/level, duration, intensity and voice quality (creak and modal voice) in six tones of /la/ and the prosodic prominence with a tone in the stressed syllable and tone registers in reduplicative disyllables. The results show that the falling huỵền, the rising sắc and the level ngang tones are similar in Northern and Southern dialects regarding pitch contour, intensity and duration. They are mostly different in the tones nặng, hỏi and ngã. Regarding voice quality, in both NVN and SVN sắc tone is creaky while ngã tone is modal. However, they are different in nặng, ngang and huỵền tones in which all three are slightly creaky in NVN but modal in SVN. One typical difference is that hỏi and ngã in SVN have merged into one tone with falling-rising contour. Moreover, the full and partial reduplicative words that create the meaning, being that of “intensification” or “attenuation” (Nguyen, 1997, p. 45), are tied with the tone harmony following strict rules on the tone registers (upper and lower), even though hỏi and ngã tones in SVN are spoken the same way. Additionally, it reveals that prosodic prominence is mostly on the second syllable in full reduplicative disyllables. Meanwhile, the prominence is on the syllable with high rising tones in partial reduplicative disyllables and in those cases they are the base. The prominence pattern found in the data is similar in both dialects. The analysis in the tonal system in NVN and SVN will, hopefully, further our understanding not only of how tones vary in Vietnamese dialects but also of how they relate to each other in Vietnamese reduplication disyllables within the phonological tonal system.

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  • Specific Languages
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 9
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventPhonology in the Nordic Countries 2018 - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2018 Feb 92018 Feb 10
Conference number: 2018
http://konferens.ht.lu.se/en/fino-2018-fonologi-i-norden-2018/

Conference

ConferencePhonology in the Nordic Countries 2018
Abbreviated titleFiNo
CountrySweden
CityLund
Period2018/02/092018/02/10
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