Vietnamese phonology


Vietnamese phonology

This article is a technical description the sound system of the Vietnamese language, including phonetics and phonology.

Consonants

Two main varieties of Vietnamese, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are described below.

Hanoi

The 21 consonants of the Hanoi variety:

:

* When stops IPA|/p, t, k/ occur at the end of words, they are unreleased and with accompanying glottal closure IPA| [ʔp̚, ʔt̚, ʔk̚] :

:

Phonetics

The HCMC Vietnamese variety is essentially the same as the Hanoi with the following exceptions:

* is generally not present in HCMC. When it is pronounced, it is often a spelling pronunciation in which case it always occurs palatalized with a IPA| [j] following it: IPA| [vʲj] . In addition to this IPA| [vj] , there is IPA| [bj, βj] that is present among other speakers. These pronunciations are remnants of a merger and sound change involving IPA|/v, z/ in southern speech (IPA|/v/ is generally still present in the northern and central regions).
* Hanoi IPA|/z/ is not present in HCMC.
* HCMC IPA|/l/ is generally slightly more palatalized than the Hanoi variety: IPA| [lʲ] .
* In southern speech, the phoneme IPA|/r/ has a number of variant pronunciations that depend on the speaker. More than one pronunciation may even be found within a single speaker. It may occur as a retroflex fricative IPA| [ʐ] , a postalveolar fricative IPA| [ʒ] , a flap IPA| [ɾ] , a trill IPA| [r] , or a fricative flap/trill IPA| [ɾ̝, r̝] . This sound is generally represented in Vietnamese linguistics by the symbol < r >.
* Among the coronals:
** IPA|/tʰ/ is dental: IPA| [t̪ʰ] .
** IPA|/t, ɗ, s, n, l/ are alveolar: IPA| [t͇, ɗ͇, s͇, n͇, l͇] .
** IPA|/t, tʰ, ɗ, s, n/ are apical: IPA| [t̺, t̺ʰ, ɗ̺, s̺, n̺] .
** IPA|/l, c, ɲ/ are laminal: IPA| [l̻ʲ, c̻, ɲ̻] .
* Unlike Hanoi, the glide IPA|/w/ in HCMC when at the beginning of a syllable is not preceded by a glottal stop.

Regional consonant variation

At the beginning of syllables, Hanoi IPA|/v, z/ appear as HCMC IPA|/j/. HCMC IPA|/r/ appears as Hanoi IPA|/z/, HCMC IPA|/c, ʈʂ/ appear as Hanoi IPA|/c/, and HCMC IPA|/s, ʂ/ appear as Hanoi IPA|/s/. The table below summarizes these sound correspondences:

:

* All vowels are unrounded except for the three back rounded vowels: IPA|/u, o, ɔ/.
* and IPA|/a/ are pronounced short — shorter than the other vowels.
** IPA|/a/ vs. /aː/: Short IPA|/a/ (orthographic "ă") and long IPA|/aː/ (orthographic "a") are different phonemic vowels, differing in length only (and not quality). (The IPA| [ː] symbol indicates a long vowel.)
** IPA|/ɜ/ vs. /əː/: Harvcoltxt|Han|1966 suggests that short IPA|/ɜ/ and long IPA|/əː/ differ in both height and length, but that the difference in length is probably the primary distinction. Harvcoltxt|Thompson|1965 seems to suggest that the distinction is due to height (as he does for all Vietnamese vowels), although he also notes the length difference.
* is close central unrounded and backed and lowered: IPA| [ɨ̞̠] . Many descriptions, such as Thompson, [Harvcoltxt|Thompson|1959 and Harvcoltxt|Thompson|1965] Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1970, Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997, consider this vowel to be close back unrounded: IPA| [ɯ] . However, Han's [Harvcoltxt|Han|1966] instrumental analysis indicates that it is more central than back. Harvcoltxt|Brunelle|2003 and Harvcoltxt|Pham|2003 also transcribe this vowel as central.
* The high and upper-mid vowels IPA|/i, ɨ, u, e, əː, o/ have phonetic offglides: IPA| [ɪj, ɨɰ, ʊw, ej, əːɰ, ow] , particularly in open syllables:

:

Ngang tone:

*The "ngang" tone is level at around the mid level (33) and is produced with modal voice phonation (i.e. with "normal" phonation). Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "level"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "high (or mid) level".

Huyền tone:

*The "huyền" tone starts low-mid and falls (21). Some Hanoi speakers start at a somewhat higher point (31). It is sometimes accompanied by breathy voice (or lax) phonation in some speakers, but this is lacking in other speakers: "bà" = IPA| [ʔɓɐ̤ː˨˩] or IPA| [ʔɓaː˨˩] . [For example, Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|Edmondson|1998 show a male speaker from Nam Định with lax voice and a female speaker from Hanoi with breathy voice for the "huyền" tone while another male speaker from Hanoi has modal voice for the "huyền".] Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "grave-lowering"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "low falling".

Hỏi tone:

* The "hỏi" tone starts a mid level and falls. It starts with modal voice phonation, which moves increasingly toward tense voice with accompanying harsh voice (although the harsh voice seems to vary according to speaker). In Hanoi, the tone is mid falling (31). In other northern speakers, the tone is mid falling and then rises back to the mid level (313 or 323). This characteristic gives this tone its traditional description as "dipping". However, the falling-rising contour is most obvious in citation forms or when syllable-final; in other positions and when in fast speech, the rising contour is negligible. The "hỏi" also is relatively short compared with the other tones, but not as short as the "nặng" tone. Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "smooth-rising"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "dipping-rising".

Ngã tone:

* The "ngã" tone is mid rising (35). Many speakers begin the vowel with modal voice, followed by strong creaky voice starting toward the middle of the vowel, which is then lessening as the end of the syllable is approached. Some speakers with more dramatic glottalization have a glottal stop closure in the middle of the vowel (i.e. as IPA| [VʔV] ). In Hanoi Vietnamese, the tone starts at a higher pitch (45) than other northern speakers. Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "chesty-raised"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "creaking-rising".

Sắc tone:

*The "sắc" tone starts as mid and then rises (35) in much the same way as the "ngã" tone. It is accompanied by tense voice phonation throughout the duration of the vowel. In some Hanoi speakers, the "ngã" tone is noticeably higher than the "sắc" tone, for example: "sắc" = IPA|˧˦ (34); "ngã" = IPA|˦ˀ˥ (45). Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "acute-angry"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "high (or mid) rising".

Nặng tone:

* The "nặng" tone starts mid or low-mid and rapidly falls in pitch (32 or 21). It starts with tense voice that becomes increasing tense until the vowel ends in a glottal stop closure. This tone is noticeably shorter than the other tones. Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) describes this as "chesty-heavy"; Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 describes it as "constricted".

outhern varieties

North-central and Central varieties

North-central and Central Vietnamese varieties are fairly similar with respect to tone although within the North-central dialect region there is considerable internal variation.

Eight-tone analysis

* See Harvcoltxt|Pham|2003

yllables and phonotactics

According to Harvcoltxt|Hannas|1997, "Quốc Ngữ" can represent 6,200 syllables (tones included), but only about 4,500 to 4,800 are used depending on dialect ("Quốc Ngữ" is designed to accommodate different dialects). [Harvcoltxt|Hannas|1997|p=88]

The Vietnamese syllable structure follows the scheme:

:: (C1)(w)V(C2)+T

where:

Harvcoltxt|Thompson|1965 says that the vowels IPA| [ʌ] (orthographic â) and IPA| [ɐ] (orthographic ă) are shorter than all of the other vowels, which is shown here with the length mark IPA| [ː] added to the other vowels. His vowels above are only the basic vowel phonemes. Thompson gives a very detailed description of each vowel's various allophonic realizations.

Harvcoltxt|Han|1966 uses acoustic analysis, including spectrograms and format measuring & plotting, to describe the vowels. She states that the primary difference between orthographic "ơ" & "â" and "a" & "ă" is a difference of length (a ratio of 2:1). "ơ" = IPA|/ɜː/, "â" = IPA|/ɜ/; "a" = IPA|/ɐː/, "ă" = IPA|/ɐ/. Her format plots also seem show that IPA|/ɜː/ may be slightly higher than IPA|/ɜ/ in some contexts (but this would be secondary to the main difference of length).

Another thing to mention about Han's studies is that she uses a rather small number of participants and, additionally, although her participants are native speakers of the Hanoi variety, they all have lived outside of Hanoi for a significant period of their lives (i.e. in France or Ho Chi Minh City).

Harvcoltxt|Nguyễn|1997 has a simpler, more symmetrical description. He says that his work is not a "complete grammar" but rather a "descriptive introduction." So, his chart above is more a phonological vowel chart rather than a phonetic one.

ee also

*Vietnamese alphabet
*Vietnamese language
*List of phonetics topics

References

Bibliography

* citation
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* citation
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* Đoàn, Thiện Thuật; Nguyễn, Khánh Hà, Phạm, Như Quỳnh. (2003). "A Concise Vietnamese Grammar (For Non-Native Speakers)". Hà Nội: Thế Giới Publishers, 2001.
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* Ferlus, Michel. (1997). Problemes de la formation du systeme vocalique du vietnamien. "Asie Orientale", "26" (1), .
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* citation
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* Han, Mieko S. (1968). "Complex syllable nuclei in Vietnamese". Studies in the phonology of Asian languages (Vol. 6); U.S. Office of Naval Research. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
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* Han, Mieko S.; & Kim, Kong-On. (1974). Phonetic variation of Vietnamese tones in disyllabic utterances. "Journal of Phonetics", "2", 223-232.
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* Nguyễn, Đình-Hoà. (1955). "Quốc-ngữ: The modern writing system in Vietnam". Washington, D. C.
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* citation
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* Pham, Hoa. (2001). A phonetic study of Vietnamese tones: Reconsideration of the register flip-flop rule in reduplication. In C. Féry, A. D. Green, & R. van de Vijver (Eds.), "Proceedings of HILP5" (pp. 140-158). Linguistics in Potsdam (No. 12). Potsdam: Universität Potsdam (5th conference of the Holland Institute of Linguistics-Phonology. ISBN 3-935024-27-4.
* citation
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* citation
last=Thompson
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* citation
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* Thurgood, Graham. (2002). Vietnamese and tonogenesis: Revising the model and the analysis. "Diachronica", "19" (2), 333-363.

External links

* [http://ngonngu.net/index.php?fld=nnh&sub=nguam&pst=nguamhoc Ngữ âm học]


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