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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On Defining Rime Categories and Rime Groups in Taiwanese Hokkien

Vol. 22 No. 2   6/1992    


On Defining Rime Categories and Rime Groups in Taiwanese Hokkien


Chang Yü-hung 









Key words



    Of the syllable features established so far for monosyllabic tone languages, tone, glottology, and nasality are nasality are distinctive in making refined contrasts in Taiwanese riming. Besides there suprasegmental features, medials also have similar effect. In total, there are twelve tones (see section 2), one glottal, one nasal, and two medials that function as “rime features”. Nuclear vowels, offglides and final endings are grouped into twenty rime groups: a, aj, av, aB, aD, aG, e, eD, eG, i, iB, iD, u, uB, uD, uG, o, ov, oB, oG, where B, D, and G stand for the points of articulation. Sible rime categories, of which 428 actually occur. 

    This definition in terms of distinctive features offers a phonological explanation of the riming schemes in Taiwanese Hokkien. It also serves as a basis for defining self-ring expressions such as bah4pian2 肉餅 ‘meat patty’ (Group a) and hong1suk4 風速 ‘wind velocity’ (Group oG) in the language. However, phonological theory and practice sometimes are at odds with each other. The nonoccurrence of actual riming between a closed syllable ending in a nasal and a corresponding one ending in a stop is an example of the disagreement between the native speaker intuition concerning linguistics and that concerning literature. 



Author: Chang Yü-hung
Genre: Article
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