吳實錄

Annals of Wu

漢藏緬語々言研究ㄟ博客
a sinotibetoburman linguistics blog
2014-07-12

Plotting Shanghainese Tone Contours In Praat discussion - tone

As mentioned in the last post, the excellent Shanghai Dialect — An Introduction to Speaking the Contemporary Language, Lance Eccles gives a good introduction to the language.

Last week my buddy Qi and I sat down to record the tone contours as given in the book, to set up a comparison between the contours as represented in the book and the same words plotted in Praat.

Altogether there are 5 groups of phrases given as examples of tone contours, each with a monosyllabic word, a bisyllabic word and a trisyllabic one to show spreading of the inital syllables tone over the whole word. In the images below, I've grouped the phrases by initial syllable.

Falling tone


For falling tone words, the examples given were fi (fly), fici (airplane), and ficizang (airport). The following graph shows those words in that order. You can ignore the extra high mark in the middle word. This is a mistake in Praat where the formants were too weak so the line was drawn in the wrong place.







Middle tone


Examples for mid-tone words are given for both checked and non-checked tone intial syllables. For non-checked, the examples are sa (what), saning (who) and sameqzï (also "what"). Again the following shows those words in that order.





Checked examples are iq (one), iqti (a bit) and iqngenge (also "a bit"). Again, you can ignore the small anomaly at the end of the second word.





For mid-tone words of 2 or more syllables, the pattern is the same for checked and non-checked tones with the exception of syllable length.

Low tone


Low tone is also split between checked and non-checked syllable initials. Examples are mwo (horse), mwozâng (immediately) and mwotongke (washroom) for non-checked.





For checked tones, exmple words are liq (stand), liqchi (stand up) and liqchile (also "stand up).





The isolated utterances shown on Praat are not identical to Eccles' but are certainly close enough to be of substantial value to the Shanghainese learner.

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    A semi-academic linguistics blog about Sinotibetan, previously focused primarily on Wú, a Sinitic language spoken in the Yangtze Delta region. Topics now include historical linguistics, documentation, language rights, sociolinguistics and learning materials, as well as acting as the dev blog for Phonemica from time to time.

    I'm a linguist based in Asia, working on documentation and historical development of Sinotibetan. In addition to academic research, I'm heavily involved in Phonemica, an organisation that promotes crowd-sourced preservation of local languages.

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