An acoustic study of Zhajin Gan tone

Yingyi Zhou, James Kirby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper presents the first phonetic study of the tone system of Zhajin Gan. While important for our understanding of tonogenesis in general and Chinese historical phonology in particular, the tone systems of Gan dialects have not been analysed acoustically. Zhajin Gan can be analysed as having 6 or 7 tones in non-checked syllables, with most having two allotones conditioned by historical differences in onset type. However, as synchronic cues to the laryngeal contrast have weakened or disappeared, the previously redundant onset f0 differences are being phonologized, setting the stage for additional tone splits. In Zhajin Gan, plosives and affricates from MC Ciqing and Quanzhuo series are synchronically realized as lax voiced stops, correlating with lower onset f0, but without any evidence for synchronic aspiration. We discuss the possible role that non-modal phonation may have played in the evolution of this complex tone system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherAustralasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780646800691
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 5 Aug 20199 Aug 2019


Conference19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2019
Internet address


  • Zhajin Gan
  • tone
  • f0 lowering
  • prevoicing
  • phonation


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