Tunes of different speech styles in Cantonese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Different speech styles come with different tunes. This paper reports the first empirical study of the tunes of different speech styles; namely, opera speaking versus opera singing, opera speaking versus normal speaking, and normal speaking versus normal singing. In all these speech styles, Cantonese lexical tones are well preserved. The data analyses show that speaking and singing differ mainly in pitch slope. Speaking styles are associated with a declining intonation, while singing styles show a slightly ascending tendency. The acoustic data also indicate that a higher pitch register is usually employed when a speech type is considered more conspicuous, such as opera speaking (compared with normal speaking) and normal singing (compared with normal speaking). Copyright © 2015 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-204
JournalChinese Language and Discourse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Zhang, L. (2015). Tunes of different speech styles in Cantonese. Chinese Language and Discourse, 6(2), 183-204. doi: 10.1075/cld.6.2.04zha.


  • Pitch
  • Tone
  • Declination
  • Speech style
  • Opera
  • Singing
  • Cantonese
  • 音高
  • 聲調
  • 下降趨勢
  • 言語形式
  • 戲曲
  • 歌唱
  • 粵語


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