Lip rounding in Amoy and Mandarin high vowels: maximum dispersion, or adequate separation
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics
Citation:Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 43 (1994), 97-105.
There are two hypotheses about the relationship between phonological contrasts and phonetic feature scales. Some phoneticians propose that values are chosen so that contrasting phonemes are maximally separated, e.g., Lilijencrants and Lindblom, 1972, while others claim that they need only to be adequately separated, e.g., Maddieson, 1977. This paper tests the competing hypotheses by comparing lip position in Mandarin [i], [y], [u] with that of Amoy [i] and [u]. According to adequate separation, the lip spreadness/roundness of Mandarin will be more extreme than that of Amoy, since there are three high vowels in Mandarin but only two in Amoy. According to the maximum dispersion hypothesis, the degree of roundness should be the same in both languages. Amoy and Mandarin data were collected from three bilingual speakers. The results support the Adequate Separation Theory. This paper also tests Wood's (1986) claim that in a language with two high rounded vowels, /u/ and /y/, /u/ is more rounded than /y/. The result shows that this claim is not necessarily true.
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