Bangkok Thai Tones Revisited

Thepboriruk, Kanjana
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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
There is a long tradition of studying Thai tones, beginning with the works of Cornelius Bradley (1909 and 1911) and Daniel Jones (1918, in Henderson 1976). The landmark work in Thai tonal description was done by Abramson in 1962. Both linguists and Thai language teachers alike consider the 1962 description to be the prescriptive standard and norm today. In 2006, Morén and Zsiga provided a de.scription of Thai tones that many scholars in the field consider controversial, as it differs greatly from Abramson 1962. The current study offers a preliminary look at the state of Bangkok tones today as spoken by twenty-five female native speakers from three different age groups: Younger (18–24), Middle (30–40), and Older (50+). The current study shows preliminary evidence toward a change in progress for Bangkok Thai tone production, particularly in tone shapes across the three age groups examined. Younger speakers show a general trend toward a higher tonal onset for the Mid and Low tones, as well as a later pitch change for both the Falling and Rising tones.
Thepboriruk, Kanjana. 2009. Bangkok Thai Tones Revisited. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 40(5).
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