Effects of prosodic focus on voice onset time (VOT) in chongming Chinese

Yitian Hong, Si Chen, Yike Yang, Bei Li

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Prosodic focus is phonetically realized by increasing intensity, extending duration, and expanding pitch rage of focused components (Xu et al., 2012). Previous studies have also found the effect of prosodic focus on enlarging two-way or three-way stop contrast by lengthening the VOT (voice onset time) of voiceless or aspirated consonants (e.g. Choi, 2003; Chen, 2011). The present study investigates the influence of prosodic focus on the realization of VOT of an under-studied language, Chongming Chinese. Twelve monosyllabic words were selected and embedded in carrier sentences with different discourse conditions: one baseline neutral focus condition and three focus conditions. Precursor questions were prepared to elicit production from native speakers of Chongming Chinese. Results showed the significant main effects of stop types and discourse conditions on VOT realization. VOTs were shortened in unaspirated and voiced stops in the on-focus condition, suggesting a different way of expanding the three-way difference in stops. VOT was also affected by other focus conditions, providing implications for the study of focus domain. The study suggests that VOT can serve as acoustic cue for stop contrasts in Chongming Chinese in different prosodic environment and contributes new data to the typology of prosodic focus study as well as stop contrast research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 2019 - Hakodate, Japan
Duration: 13 Sept 201915 Sept 2019


Conference33rd Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 2019


  • Chongming Chinese
  • Phonological contrast
  • Prosodic focus
  • VOT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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