Journal of Chinese Linguistics Vol.51 – 2023

Volume 51, No 1

Message from the Editors 编辑寄语

We are pleased to announce that Professor Jie XU (徐杰) will serve as Co-Editor of the Journal of Chinese Linguistics (JCL) beginning in January 2023. A distinguished scholar in the field, Professor Xu is currently Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Macau. It is our honor and pleasure to have Prof. Xu take up the role of Co-Editor. We look forward to working with him.


We’d like to thank colleagues who reviewed one or more papers for JCL during the period from December 2021 to November 2022. Their names are listed on the next page. Thank you for your support.


We wish everyone a very Happy New Year!


Shengli Feng and Virginia Yip

January 2023

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要

This paper discusses the property of voicing and releasing in coda stops in Old Chinese, which is of great significance to the phonetic types and historical comparison between Chinese and Tibetan Languages. The nature of Old Chinese is mainly based on the historical comparison between Chinese and Tibetan Languages and Chinese loan words in other languages. For example, in Ancient Tibetan the stop codas were transcribed to voiced letters. The majority of bound function words in Classical Tibetan have two variants based on whether the preceding codas are voiced or not. The /-l(-r)/ coda in the ancient Chinese northern languages and early Sanskrit-Chinese phonetic transcription comes from the /-d/ coda. Old Chinese loan words in Japanese have voiced stop codas. Modern Chinese dialects also have voiced stop codas. In addition, stop codas in Tibetan Xigaze, Balti, Lajiao and other dialects, Xifan yiyu and Qiang languages all have the nature of releasing. The “broken tone” in Chinese is caused by a released glottal stop.




Keywords 关键词

Old Chinese  Stop codas  Release  Voicing  Sound pattern  Historical comparison

古汉语  音韵尾  破  音  音类型  史比较

Abstract 摘要

The acoustic characteristics of the tense and lax contrasts have been studied extensively, and different measures were attested to be related, but few of these studies discussed different measures together and explored their relationships. Three of the eight tones in Zhoucheng Bai (i.e., T2, T6, and T7) are marked as tense tones, while the rest are lax tones. Based on Electroglottographic (EGG) and acoustic signals, this paper examined eight measures, namely fundamental frequency (F0), open quotient (OQ), speed quotient (SQ), H1*-H2*, H2*-H4*, H1*-A1*, H1*-A2*, and H1*-A3*, in the data obtained from 10 Zhoucheng Bai speakers. It shows that different measures perform variously in the distinction of tense and lax contrasts. F0 well distinguishes between T6 and T1, and both EGG measures and spectral measures can differentiate between T2 and T8, but none of measures reflects the contrast of T7 and T3 for all speakers. The case of T7 and T3 suggests that the relationship between production and perception is not as straightforward as commonly assumed and needs further research. Although different measures don’t always participate in the distinction of tense and lax contrasts together and have equal contributions, they are significantly correlated with each other, which are supported by the correlation analysis.




Keywords 关键词

Zhoucheng Bai   Tense and lax contrast   EGG measures   Spectral measures

城白语      紧调      EGG参数     谱参数


Abstract 摘要

Eight reconstruction systems for Old Chinese and Middle Chinese raised by Bernhard Karlgren, Wang Li, Li Fang-Kuei, Tung T’ungho, Chou Fa-kao, Zhengzhang Shangfang, Pan Wuyun and Baxter-Sagart are revisited in this paper. Taking 60 doculects of balanced Modern Chinese dialects as reference, similarities between Old Chinese, Middle Chinese and modern Chinese dialects are calculated with ASJP tools. Evolution rates for Old Chinese to Middle Chinese, Middle Chinese to Modern Chinese and the rates ratios are analysed. The results show that Zhengzhang Shangfang’s and Baxter-Sagart’s reconstructions are most reasonable and self-consistent ones among the eight systems. The author argues that, from an external perspective of diachronic change of language, analysis on similarity data and change rates may contribute to reconstruction evaluation.




Keywords 关键词

Old Chinese  Middle Chinese  Reconstruction  Similarity of doculects  Evolution rate

古音  古音  拟  档相似度  化速率


Abstract 摘要

This study calculated the functional load of Chinese tones in different contexts by using an extensive corpus and the Markov model-based “Hockett-Wang algorithm”. The results show that, compared to vowels and consonants, tones carry the smallest functional load. In tones that are associated with monosyllabic, bi-syllabic, and multi-syllabic words, the functional load is inversely related to the number of syllables in that word. In other words, the more syllables in a word, the further the functional load of tones tends to decrease. Importantly, this study reveals a close correlation between the functional load of Chinese tones and the evolution of these tones. This is evidenced by the perceived imbalance of the functional load of different tonal contrasts within contemporary Chinese, as well as by the simulation results of the drastically declining functional load of Chinese tones in diachronic. These results may suggest that the declining load of Chinese tones is indeed the underlying driver for the merger and the resulting decline in the number of Chinese tones. The conclusions of the paper may shed new light for future research in the fields of phonology, speech engineering, as well as second language teaching.




Keywords 关键词

unctional Load  Tone  Chinese Dialects  Corpus  Tonal Evolution

能负担  调  语方言  料库  调演变

Abstract 摘要

This study investigates acoustic correlates of prominence in Lizu (Tibeto-Burman). Lizu has been argued to have a hybrid prosodic system combining lexical tone on monosyllabic words and prominence patterns with stress-like and tonal characteristics on polysyllabic words, although empirical evidence is lacking. This study presents an acoustic investigation of the pitch patterns on disyllabic words in the Kala variety of Lizu (HL, HH, LH). Using the parameters of duration, intensity, and f0, it attempts to sort out different forms of prominence, and to explore their interaction with lexical tone. The measurements are taken from experimental data with eight Lizu speakers (4 male and 4 female). The acoustic results and statistical analyses suggest that the first syllable in Kala Lizu is the position of prominence in all three pitch patterns. Our results are consistent with interpreting the pitch pattern HL as more stress-like (with intensity as an acoustic correlate of stress) and the pitch patterns HH and LH as more tone-like (with stress cued by full realization of lexical tone). This study contributes to a better understanding of the prosodic organization of Kala Lizu and it also suggests methodology for further exploration of other Lizu varieties.




Keywords 关键词

Prosodic prominence  Stress  Tone  Lizu  Tibeto-Burman

律突显  音  调  汝语  缅语族

Abstract 摘要

Wh-question phrases in Mandarin remain in-situ at their base position (e.g., John bought what?). Although theoretical studies show that there is a covert dependency between the in-situ question word/phrase and SpecCP, little is known how this dependency is evidenced in the processing of Mandarin wh-in-situ questions. In addition, bare Mandarin wh-phrases like shéi ‘who’ are different from complex ones like nǎge tóngxué ‘which classmate’, as the former are known as wh-indeterminates, on a par with indefinites (Cheng 1991), while the latter are considered on a par with definites (Rullmann and Beck 1998). To uncover the processing mechanism of wh-in-situ questions, we conducted two self-paced reading studies where we compared their processing behavior with that of their declarative counterparts. Specifically, and due to the claims made in the literature regarding the nature of bare and complex wh-questions, we compared bare wh-questions with declarative counterparts that contained indefinites, and complex wh-questions with declarative counterparts that contained definites. Our findings show that, regardless of their bare or complex nature, wh-questions were in general processed with more cost (i.e., reading delay) than their declarative counterparts, providing evidence that a covert-dependency is built in wh-questions. In particular, based on our results we claim that after reading the core wh-element, the parser immediately starts the process of resolving the wh-question interpretation by establishing the covert dependency.


汉语普通话的特殊疑问句是在位疑问句,即疑问词的位置和陈述句对应名词的位置相同(例如“约翰买了什么?”),并不移到句首。理论语言学的研究表明,在位的疑问词与句子左缘的SpecCP存在隐性的依存关系,但这种依存关系能否从在线句子加工中找到证据,尚不得而知。除此之外,光杆疑问词(例如“谁”)与复杂的疑问词(例如“哪个同学”)本质不同,因为前者是wh-不定指,类似于不定代词(Cheng 1991), 而后者性质与有定代词类似(Rullmann and Beck, 1998)。为了更好地揭示普通话特殊疑问句的加工机制,文章进行了两个自控步速阅读实验,来对比疑问句和对应陈述句的加工模式。具体说来,根据文献中对光杆疑问词和复杂疑问词的区分,我们分别对比了光杆疑问句和包含了对应不定代词陈述句的加工区别,以及复杂疑问句和包含了对应有定代词陈述句的加工区别。研究结果表明,尽管疑问词的性质有光杆和复杂之分,疑问句整体上都要比对应陈述句加工成本更高(即需要更多的加工时间)。这为普通话特殊疑问句中隐性依存关系的建构提供了在线加工上的证据。此外,实验的结果显示,只要阅读到wh-成分(例如“哪个”、“谁”),被试就开始了疑问依存关系的建构,不需要读完整个词组(例如“哪个同学”)。


Keywords 关键词

Bare wh-in-situ questions  Complex wh-in-situ questions  Indefinites  Definites   Wh-dependency

杆在位疑问句 杂在位疑问句 定代词 定代词 存关系

Abstract 摘要

The article uses the nasometer to analyze systematically the monophthongs, diphthongs, nasalized vowels, non-nasal voiced consonants, and nasal consonants of Shuangfeng dialect. Through the investigation of nasality, we find that it is a dialect with high value of nasality, and its nasality is gradually weakening. The nasality of vowels is related to the position of the tongue. The degree of nasality to the voiced consonant is related to the pronunciation position and the pronunciation method. Phonetically, the type of /l/ of Shuangfeng dialect has important significance and has age differences. From the perspective of the nasality, the types of /l/ of the elderly, middle-aged, and young speakers are respectively nasal /l/, nasalized /l/, and accented /l/. The nasality decreases with reduction of speakers’ age.




Keywords 关键词

Xiang Dialects  Shuangfeng dialect  Nasality  Type of lateral

语  峰话  化度  音类型

Abstract 摘要

Fung Ahok, a native of Whampoa, was one of the earliest Chinese ever to visit Germany. During his stay, several German authors described the two varieties of Cantonese spoken by him and his fellow traveler, Fung Asseng, a native of Xiāngshān. Meanwhile, both Fungs themselves also produced abundant manuscripts reflecting their Cantonese phonology, which can be believed to be of great value for exploring Early Cantonese. This paper aims to investigate the various materials left by Fung Ahok and some German scholars on Cantonese transcription and thus reconstruct his personal phonology.




Keywords 关键词

Early Cantonese  Whampoa Cantonese  Romanized transcriptions of Cantonese  ung Ahok  German manuscripts

期粤语  埔粤语  语罗马字转写  亚学  语手稿

Review 书评

Excerpt 节选


When Chomsky set up the generative grammar theory framework in the 1950s, he made it clear that the same set of rules and structural representations, which he called universal grammar (UG), provide the basis for the individual grammar of every language (Chomsky 1957). The ultimate goal for establishing generative grammar is to figure out what these rules are and how they work. As means to achieve his goal, Chomsky gave up the fundamental assumptions of structuralism and divided language studies into modules such as syntax, semantics, phonetics, phonology and so on. His intention is to study each module independently without referring to the others and a new term “autonomous syntax” is created to convey this idea, illustrated by the well-known sentence “colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. He admits that this sentence is semantically absurd but insists that it is syntactically well-formed and could be studied on its own.



It is not easy to find an account comprehensive enough for such complexity of the noun incorporation analysis or within the current framework of generative grammar. On the other hand, this is exactly what the UG-Iconicity Interface proposed in this book is designed to handle, since the order of V and N is determined by the meaning each compound is expected to produce and is therefore not random. The details are waiting to be worked out and it is my hope that Li will come up with a proposal soon.

Insight 洞悟与心得

Abstract 摘要

Pylkkäne把施用结构分为高低两层,为处理施用论元的跨语言语法行为提供了新的视角和分析方法。然而,其对低层施用词素ApplL的处理方法存在多重根本性问题,其中最显著的问题是在语义上把ApplL 当作VP的论元,但在句法上却当作VP的内部成分。这显然与论元关系所呈现出的句法-语义高度一致性相违背。针对这些问题,本文提出了新的解决方案,设定了ApplL的两个功能:1)引进施用论元,并界定施用论元和受事论元之间的所有者和被所有者关系;2)核查V所指称的事件是否允准所有者关系的转移。这两大功能决定了ApplL和V之间不可能存在论元关系或修饰关系,而只能把两种独立的语法信息直接叠加,共同构成相关句法成分的核心内容。令ApplL类比φ特征,V类比T,两者组合构成V-ApplL。在句法语义规则限制下,组合结果既能解释低层施用论元的语法语义行为,又能避免Pylkkänen理论的弊病。


Keywords 关键词

用论元  元关系  层施用结构  有关系转移  写小句

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