Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Dialect

The Influence of Language Contact on the Phonetic Evolution of the Dialects in Shanghai Urban Districts

Author GuQin
Tutor PanWuYun
School Shanghai Normal University
Course Chinese Philology
Keywords Language contact Shanghai Urban Area Dialect Phonetic Evolution Mandarin
CLC H17
Type PhD thesis
Year 2007
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There are two kinds of motivation causing the phonetic evolution. One is from the language internal conflict. The other is from the language contact. The latter is an external motivation. And it also works via internal conflicts. Most of the linguists focused on the current phonetic description and the evolution of taking a period of time but rarely researched phonetic evolution caused by the language contact in the former phonetics researches of dialects. This thesis focuses on the phonetic evolution of Shanghai urban dialect from the aspect of language contact.With the development of Shanghai, the population of immigrants is much more than the local. The increasing communication among the people from the different regions such as trading affairs, culture exchange and immigrant residents etc. will definitely cause all kinds of the dialects contact. Although the mother languages of the immigrants may influence Shanghai dialect and they may bring their accents or specific vocabularies or structures into Shanghai dialect. But as a strong dialect the main structure of Shanghai dialect isn’t changed. So this kind of the dialects contact has very small influence on the phonetic system of Shanghai dialect. With the expanding and popularization of mandarin as a governmental legal language mandarin has an absolute strong position in all kinds of the dialects contact comparing with other dialects. It has the main influence on the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect and makes the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect tend towards the same as mandarin step by step. So this thesis starts with the language contact between Shanghai dialect and mandarin based on the phonetic lexical investigation from the phonetic evolution caused by mandarin among young shanghai people, Shanghai accent mandarin and the situation how immigrant use their dialects these three aspects to research how the language contacts influence the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect.This dissertation use the method of social linguistics to get extensive samples and then use the method of field investigation to record the phonetic situation of the speakers and then use the method of experimental phonetics to verify the result of the investigation. Then this thesis tries to get the phonetic truth via the statistic of the result of the investigation. Comparing with the former research of Shanghai dialect this thesis has these features as below. Firstly the research is based on Shanghai dialect to analyze the language contact and the phonetic evolution. Shanghai as a big city has a large population and a big impact of language contact. And it is a type of the urban language contacts of our country. So the result of the research has a certain theoretical value and applicable value. Secondly this thesis is based on the lexical investigation. Lexical words are the carriers of phonetics and phonetic evolution diffuses gradually among lexical words. This thesis focuses on the relationship between using frequency and the order of the phonetic evolution in the lexical diffusion. Thirdly this thesis gathers a lot of materials via the method of social linguistics to research the truth of the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect. It is more scientific and reliable to have extensive samples. Fourthly combining the method of experimental phonetics this thesis uses the phonetic programs to analyze the changing sounds to verify the difference of hearing. Fifthly this thesis researches the order of the mistakes frequency when Shanghai people speak mandarin and compares it with the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect influenced by mandarin. Sixthly this thesis also researches some phonetic phenomena of immigrants based on lexical words. It includes how the immigrants with different mother tongues use mandarin in Shanghai and how they learn to speak shanghai dialect.This thesis has eight chapters. Chapter one introduces and concludes the situation of the linguists researched the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect via the language contact and introduces the researching targets and the theoretical basis. Chapter two introduces how the social investigation of Shanghai dialects spoken by the young people impacted by mandarin. According to the results of the investigation it describes all the phonetic changes impacted by mandarin. And all these results are verified by the phonetic analyze software. Chapter three four and five individually discusses the situation and the reasons of the phonetic evolution on initials vowels and tones. And I try to find the truth of the phonetic evolution impacted by mandarin via the investigation of the lexical words. Chapter six is the analysis of Shanghai accent mandarin。Try to research the mistakes frequency tendency when Shanghai people speak mandarin. Chapter seven researches the situation of the phonetic evolution of the immigrants who live in Shanghai urban area. The last chapter introduces the conclusion and the prospect of researches. It describes the tendency and the reasons of the phonetic changes of shanghai dialect and the tendency will bring what kind of enlightenment to the dialects research.This thesis via the investigation of the phonetic changes of Shanghai dialect impacted by mandarin finds under the influence of the authoritative dialect mandarin some characters of Shanghai dialect are in the process of disappearance and the speed of disappearance of all these characters are not same. Influenced by mandarin the phonetic system will change. This belongs to the internal phonetic change. In addition the young people don’t know to read some uncommon words in correct Shanghai dialect. They use the pronunciation of mandarin to match the words which cause a different pronunciation of Shanghai dialect. This kind of phenomena is very normal but it only happens in some individual words and doesn’t change the phonetic system of Shanghai dialect. According the statistics of the lexical phonetic change this thesis also finds that it is easier for the opening words to change than the closing words. It is the more the words used by people the more difficult to have the phonetic changes. Otherwise the fewer the words used by people the easier to have the phonetic changes. The core words are the most stable. Then the indiscriminative phonetic characters are the second stable. The reason why Mandarin has a great influence on the phonetic revolution of Shanghai urban dialect is because Mandarin has occupied most of the information channels in our daily life. The situation how Shanghai people speak Mandarin is almost like the bilingual education.Furthermore this thesis also finds that although the population of the immigrants is much more than the local people but the impact on Shanghai dialect normally reaches the lexical layer not the phonological layer through the research of the situation of the phonetic evolution of Shanghai immigrants. The communication of the resident areas among the immigrants from different area is via mandarin. But if the immigrants want to exist in Shanghai they have to learn Shanghai dialect to communicate with Shanghai people in their daily life.In the end this thesis concludes the truth according to the contact between Shanghai dialect and mandarin. The process of the phonetic evolution is complex but it is no doubt a reliable way to get the information of the phonetic changing system via researching the language contact. The main target of this thesis is trying to find the external factors which influence the phonetic evolution of Shanghai dialect via researching the phonetic situation of Shanghai urban dialects in the aspect of the language contact. It is really meaningful to find how Chinese dialects came into being and the truth of the phonetic evolution of Chinese dialects via researching the language contact.

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