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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Height and frontness are two important parameters of articulation of vowels. It is well established that vowel height is inversely correlated to the frequency value of the first formant (F1)—the lower the vowel, the higher the F1 frequency—and that frontness is positively correlated to the value of the second formant (F2)—the fronter the vowel, the higher the F2 frequency. This chapter reports surveys on the formant frequencies of vowels in two major Chinese dialects, Hong Kong Cantonese and Mandarin. It consolidates this understanding by analyzing vowels embedded in isolated syllables and in continuous speech. It also points out that lowering the tongue further by opening the mouth wider is a key aspect of cross-dialectal differences in vowel acoustic spaces between Cantonese and Mandarin, and vowel reduction in continuous speech is mainly realized by reducing vowel backness.

Keywords: Cantonese, Mandarin, vowel, formant, continuous speech, isolated syllables

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