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Neutral Tone

(5,536 words)

Author(s): Yiya CHEN
Běijīng Mandarin is commonly described as having four tones (Běijīng, The Language of). Yet this apparently simple assertion turns out to be a complicated and controversial question, because it depends on the status of the so-called neutral tone. The term neutral tone, known in Chinese as qīngshēng 輕聲 'light tone', was first introduced by Chao in the 1920s (Chao 2002) to describe the pitch pattern of some syllables in Běijīng Mandarin which show variability as a function of the preceding lexical tone. These syllables are also short and redu…
Date: 2017-03-02

Běijīng, The Language of

(5,402 words)

Author(s): Katia CHIRKOVA | Yiya CHEN
1. General Běijīng Mandarin (Běijīnghuà 北京話, Pekingese, hereafter BM) is a language spoken in the city of Běijīng (Peking) by its natives. The development of BM in this definition is essentially influenced by two factors: the special status as capital that the city enjoyed almost uninterruptedly for nearly a millennium, and the normative language(s) of its successive ruling elites. Situated for many centuries in the borderlands between China proper and the Altaic peoples to its north, the predecessor cities of present-day Běijīng served as capital to m…
Date: 2017-03-02