University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Previous studies of the prosodic realization of focus in Mandarin Chinese show an expansion of the pitch range of lexical tones. It is less clear, however, whether focus affects the Creaky Phonation (CP) that often co-occurs with the Dipping third tone (T3), and to some extent, also with the Falling fourth tone (T4). This study investigates the effect of focus on the acoustic properties of the four Mandarin tones, and while it confirms the expansion of the pitch range under focus, it does not find that focus affects CP in T3; it only finds an effect of focus on CP in T4. Both the F0 and CP patterns are also considered in relation to the Functional Load Hypothesis, specifically, the relationship between the contrastive properties of a language and the manifestation of prominence.