On Wed, 25 Oct 2000, DOUGLAS KOLLER wrote:

> From: "H. S. Teoh"
> > > Surely you meant 55, 15, 214, 52.
> > 55??? I'd have thought it was 33, or at most, 44, 'cos 52 *definitely*
> > starts with a higher pitch than the 1st tone. Or am I misunderstanding
> > something obvious?
> I don't think so. I tend to use these numbers as relatives and not
> absolutes. For me, e.g., Mandarin third tone is more 212 or 213, but I get
> the idea if one says 214. 55 and 52 work for me, but if you want to haggle
> over 55 or 44, I can understand. I think 33 pushes the envelope, however,
> for a Mandarin first tone.

In addition, the exact tonal contour of a given tone is one of the things
that varies most between dialects of Mandarin.  In Sichuan, e.g., the
fourth tone is pronounced like a standard third tone and vice versa!

Sichuan is a weird place to begin with, linguistically speaking: why does
a province in the heart of the South speak Mandarin anyway?  The best
guess is that until about the 16th century, it didn't, but had its own
Sinitic language.  Then there was some kind of depopulation event
(plague, famine, whatever) and the area was resettled by Northern Chinese.

John Cowan                                   [log in to unmask]
One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore
        --Douglas Hofstadter