Vowels and tones as acoustic cues in Chinese subregional dialect identification

Huangmei Liu (Corresponding author), Jie Liang, Vincent van Heuven, W.J. Heeringa

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present perceptual study is to weight tones and vowels as acoustic cues in Chinese subregional dialect identification, and to test the credibility of the subregional dialect classification that has been proposed in the literature. Our findings show that listeners are able to pinpoint speakers’ subregional dialect even when only given monosyllabic Chinese word stimuli, either natural or tone-transplanted. The results agree with the impressionistic claim that both vowels and tones contribute to perceptual subregional dialect identification. However, vowel quality differences make a greater contribution than the tone differences – which contradicts the order of importance predicted in the impressionistic literature. Strong interactions between vowels and tones are also found
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59
Number of pages69
JournalSpeech Communication
Issue number2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Acoustic cue
  • Subregional dialect identification
  • Vowel
  • Tone
  • Cue weighting


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