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Aspiration in Chinese
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This dissertation studies aspiration in Chinese in these four areas: the temporal relationships between aspiration and the vowel of the syllable, the perception of aspiration, the correlation between pitch and aspiration, and the role of aspiration in a historical change in Chinese. Data based on 144 words with aspiration contrasts were derived from the experiments which involved production and perception by a total of 28 Chinese speakers. On the basis of the measurements of acoustical characteristics of the voice onset time and the lengths of the syllable, a constant ratio model has been proposed to describe the timing relationships among the elements within a syllable. The perceptual experiment tested the cues of aspiration by deleting the portion of the voice onset time from the syllable on the front, back, middle and both ends. The results are reported and discussed. The effects of aspiration on intrinsic tone heights in Mandarin were measured and the significance calculated. Finally some attempts are made to solve the development of aspiration from voiced obstruents under the condition of different tones from Middle Chinese to modern dialects.