Production of the merging tones in Hong Kong Cantonese: preliminary data on monosyllables

Peggy Pik-Ki Mok, Peggy Wai-Yi Wong, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Cantonese has six tones (T), but some appear to be merging in Hong Kong Cantonese, namely, the two rising tones T2/T5, the two level tones T3/T6, and the low falling and low level tones T4/T6. 17 potential mergers participated in a production experiment. This paper reports data from the production of high and low frequency monosyllabic words. F0 values were tracked in the subjects’ production. Results show that there is much individual difference in tone merge. While there is tone merging into various tonal categories, the six tones are kept intact. More interestingly, novel intermediate tones emerge.