null initial with glottal stop

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by syowangza, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. syowangza New Member

    I've been studying mandarin phonology for a few years and there's one question that I haven't been able to answer just by looking it up.
    Does a word that begins with a null initial (i.e. a word that doesn't begin with a consonant) is it always pronounced with a glottal stop before it?

    Listening to music and people speaking I'm guessing that the glottal stop doesn't occur for words that start with "y" /j/ or "w" /w/, or if the preceding word ends with "ng" /
    However I'm confused if the presence of a glottal stop is affected by other endings preceding it such as:

    1.) "深爱" vs "畲耐"
    2.) "代傲" vs "带药"
    3.) "到爱" vs "到外"

    Can somebody here please help clear this up for me?
  2. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Not always. Idiosyncratic variances and dialectal variances are great. Internal inconsistency within an individual's speech exists as well. You may need to approach it from a statistical or probability perspective rather than a Yes/No question and to consider factors such as casual vs. conscious speech, monosyllabic vs. disyllabic words, etc. In general, there is a greater possibility for a glottal insertion when the syllable is focused and when the word starts with /a/ or /o/.
    Um, all I can say is that 平安 can be pronounced [pʰjəŋ.ˀan], [pʰjəŋ.an], or [pʰjəŋ.ŋan] by some depending on a lot of factors. But you are correct: It is less likely to occur in those environments.
    You may observe sound linking when the preceding word ends with a sonorant. Speed is an important factor. The faster one speaks, the more likely linking occurs. Another factor concerns boundary--more so within words (词) at morpheme (字) boundaries, less so at word boundaries, and least so between prosodic units. The glottal stop, which has the opposite effect of linking but not so much as to become a pause (i.e., hiatus), probably has a higher frequency at word boundaries.

    Glottal stop is not a phoneme in Mandarin. Most native speakers do not recognize or realize it even if it exists in their own speech. A literature review or a research study is needed in order to fully answer your question.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  3. Rockx Member

    Here's my opinion as a native speaker (I never concern myself with phonology):

    Most people do not speak like broadcaster. They just pronounce words in a CONVENIENT way (and I believe this happenes in most language) .That's why I tend to ignore the "y" /j/ when I pronounce "dai'yao" fast. The listener could guess the meaning we want to convey from context. In songs, a singer may intentionally not pronounce clearly, trying to create a particular atmosphere.

    I hope this helps.
  4. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    I'm not sure. Most phoneticians say that in Chinese when vowels have null initial, there's always a glottal stop.
    I think "深爱" never becomes "畲耐".
    And 平安
    [pʰjəŋ.ŋan]??? :confused: Unless he's not proficient in Mandarin, and in his dialect (topolect) 安 is pronounced [ŋan].

    Also... Skating, have you been influenced by Zhuyin Fuhao? I think in Standard Chinese should be [
    pʰiŋ]. [pʰjəŋ] sounds like Beijing dialect.

    The assimilation is more common in 语气词. E.g. 啊 a, after a "i" or vowel+"i", it becomes 呀 ya.
    了 le +啊 a become 啦 la
  5. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    I don't think there's something called "glottal stop" in Chinese (maybe there is but I don't know:p, as Skatinginbc said).

    No, we don't speak like this. I don't see any difference in the pronunciation of 爱 in 深爱(shen1 ai4) and 喜爱(xi3 ai4), or 安 in 平安(ping2 an1) and 西安(xi1`an1)

    Agree with Youngfun on that the pronunciation of 啊(a) may change at the end of a sentence, e.g.
    1. 是你啊!--(ni3) ya
    2. 快走啊!--(zou3) wa 别哭啊--(ku1) wa
    3. 好开心啊!-- (xin1) na 你真是个好人啊!--(ren2) na
  6. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I used to find that some singers did make 深爱 sound like 深耐 in their pop songs. But in speeches, people won't do that.
    I think Chinese "en/an/in" don't require your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth... (舌头不需抵上颚, don't know how to describe in English.) That's why you don't usually hear 深爱 become 深耐. Chinese don't do 连读.

    In 带药, the sound is more prominent than 带傲.

    In 到外, we make a clear [w] while you don't do the same in [ao].
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  7. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie Senior Member

    English (UK)
    syowangza, it may sound like over the top but I'd suggest that instead of asking about the issue, you may be better off recording these words in natural speech and analysing the data yourself (as you're studying phonology, this exercise is worth doing). As for native speakers of any language, unless they are trained linguists they normally hear what they think they hear but not necessarily what they actually hear. So, even with the best intention, they may not be very accurate in the observation of their own speech :)
  8. themadprogramer Senior Member

    The other side of the world
    Turkish, English

    A couple of months back I saw something about how sometimes a glottal stop is pronounced before words that begin with vowels. Can anyone please clarify this?[/h]
  9. brofeelgood

    brofeelgood Senior Member

    Zürich, Switzerland
    English, 中文
    I'm intrigued. An example would be appreciated.

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