A Phonetic Study of the Endangered lao Beijing hua (the Old Peking dialect) in Beijing

Project: Research

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The number of human languages is shrinking. Hale (1992) of MIT warns that half of the 6000 human languages are dying, and within the 21st century 90% of existing languages are likely to become extinct. In Beijing,lao Beijing hua, or the Old Peking dialect (OPD), is disappearing (Hu 1987) and is being replaced by Putonghua (the Beijing variety), the official language for all political, socio-economic, and educational activities in Beijing. Linguistically, Putonghua is based on OPD; however, the two differ markedly in pronunciation and lexicon. This project is motivated by the urgency of analyzing and recording OPD before its disappearance. The aims of the research are:to analyze the phonetic characteristics of the speech sounds and tones of OPD;to analyze co-articulated sounds of larger units than syllables;to analyze intonation patterns on the sentences; andto build a large database of speech samples of OPD.


Project number7002064
Grant typeSRG
Effective start/end date1/04/0731/03/10