The works described here mostly are mini projects that I worked on during my study in BU. If you are interested in the study, please write me an email! I am happy to share my manuscript with you, and to hear your comments on improving the study.
Hong Kong English as a tonal variety revisited
Hong Kong English (HKE), a contact variety of English formed by the constant contact with Hong Kong Cantonese, is argued to be a tonal variety of English. Previous reports argue that since Cantonese speakers lack the concept of lexical stress, and are in general talented in detecting pitch changes, they have hence reinterpreted lexical stress as underlying High tones. HKE is further argued to lack strategies of deaccenting, hence giving further support to classify HKE as tonal. This study aims to argue against this classification. In particular, HKE speakers contrast syllable stress by varying syllable duration just like NVE speakers, and younger generations of HKE speakers also display a similar pattern of tone assignments compared to NVE speakers.
Towards a (better) understanding of Hong Kong Mandarin phonology: The case of place contrast in the three fricative-affricate triplets
The variety of Mandarin spoken by Hong Kongers (HKM) has long been frowned-upon due to the strong Cantonese accent. Previous studies reported contradicting trends of place contrast confusion in HKM speakers based on impressionistic judgements: replacing the palatals (/tɕ, tɕʰ, ɕ/) with dentals (/ts, tsʰ, s/), or replacing the retroflexes (/tʂ, tʂʰ, ʂ/) with dentals. This study enriches the current understanding of HKM phonology by showing with acoustic evidence that HKM speakers are capable of producing the place contrast that is only quantitatively different from the native speakers, and explores other ways of conceptualizing the production of place contrasts by L2 learners.’
The undiscussed asymmetries in English wh-interrogatives by Cantonese-English bilingual children: A pilot study
While wh-interrogatives have been an important test case for syntactic and acquisition theories, the production of wh-interrogatives by Cantonese-English bilinguals in general focuses on the wh-in-situ phenomenon only. This paper discusses the effects of move-wh – move-T asymmetry and argument-adjunct asymmetry in English non-subject wh-interrogatives produced by nine Cantonese-English bilingual children in the Hong Kong Bilingual Child Language Corpus. To allow for a fair judgement of the effects of the two asymmetries, the rates of wh-movement, subject-drop, null-T, and T-to-C movement were also discussed. Results point to parallels and differences between monolingual and bilingual English learners, and how bilingual first language syntax acquisition can be modulated by language dominance.