Contraction and Backgrounding in Taiwan Mandarin

Translated Titles





史嘉琳(Karen Steffen Chung)

Key Words

縮讀 ; 台灣漢語 ; 背景化 ; 語音省略 ; 主題-評述 ; 句尾 ; 言談分析 ; 音位排列規則 ; contraction ; Taiwan Mandarin ; backgrounding ; elision ; topic-comment ; utterance-final ; discourse ; phonotactics


Concentric: Studies in Linguistics

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

32卷1期(2006 / 01 / 01)

Page #

69 - 88

Content Language


Chinese Abstract

台灣漢語中有一個相當普遍,卻鮮少人察覺的現象,就是語音縮讀,譬如,「馬上」常說成[ma√aŋ∨]或是[ma√ (符号略)a ŋ∨]。縮讀的主要功能在於將較不重要的資訊,如虛詞、副詞片語或重疊詞重複的部分「背景化」,使聽話者比較容易判斷出句中重要的成分在哪裡。因為漢語中「主題-評述」的結構特徵,縮讀詞語甚少在句尾出現,除非是已定形的縮讀,而且最後一個音節沒有語音省略,或是句尾臨時附加的插入語,如「我覺得」。縮讀詞語的使用與否與許多因素相關,包括語言的場合層級、對話者的年齡與社會階級、個人說話習慣,及說話者對於話題的情緒投入。台灣漢語到底是音節計時的語言還是重音計時的語言,抑或兩者都不是,尚未有定論。不過,在觀察有關縮讀語料之後至少可以說,縮讀現象極少的播音式漢語應比較傾向音節計時;縮讀形經常出現的日常交談則較偏向重音計時;台灣漢語因此可能屬於混合性的語音計時類型。

English Abstract

Though the average speaker is often not very aware of it, phonetic contraction is a widespread phenomenon in Taiwan Mandarin; for example, ma^3shang^4 'immediately' is typically realized as [ma√ aŋ٧] or [ma√ (The symbol is abbreviated)aŋ٧] in relaxed conversational speech. The primary function of contracted forms is to background less important information, such as function words, adverbial modification, or the repeated part of reduplicated forms, thus helping the listener identify and focus on the highlighted or more important parts of the message. Due to the topic-comment structure of Chinese, in which the most important and relevant information comes last, contraction normally is not utterance-final except in the case of stable, established forms which contain a prominent, non-reduced syllable, or of parenthetical forms added as afterthoughts. Use of contracted forms varies according to the register of the discourse, the class and age of the interlocutors, personal speech habits, and emotional involvement in the subject matter. The rich system of contraction in Taiwan Mandarin suggests that it is a mixed system as regards syllable vs. stress timing, depending on the style and purpose of the discourse.

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