Taiwanese Tones and Break Indices

We are currently developing a set of ToBI framework conventions for Taiwanese (also known as "Taiwan Min"), a member of the Southern Min group of Chinese languages that is spoken as a first or second language by about 80% of the population of Taiwan. There is substantial dialect variation within Southern Min group and even within Taiwanese itself, but the salient properties of the prosodic systems of the dialects that have been studied to date seem to characterize all dialects of Southern Min. Therefore, we are confident that a single set of annotation conventions will cover the entire Taiwan Min group. We began work on these conventions in 2001, and earlier versions were used in various projects on Taiwanese intonation and prosody, such as:

Pan, H. (2006). Focus and Taiwanese unchecked tones. In C. Lee, M. Gordon, and D. Buering (eds.) Topic and Focus: Intonation and meaning from a cross-linguistic perspective, pp. 195-213. Springer.

The most complete description of the annotataion conventions in their current instantiation is in:

Peng, S., & Beckman, M.E. (2003). Annotation conventions and corpus design in the investigation of spontaneous speech prosody in Taiwanese. In Proceedings of SSPR 2003, pp. 17-22. [Click here to get a preprint of the paper and the accompanying sound files.]

However, the conventions are evolving rapidly as we look at more data and solidify our understanding of various phenomena such as sentence-final pragmatic particles and derivational affixes. To help advance this progress, we organized a focus group on Taiwanese for the satelite workshop that Paul Warren organized on Intonation in Language Varieties -- AM Approaches that was held at ICPhS2003 in Barcelona on Sunday, 3 August 2003. If you would like to join this focus group, please contact Janice Fon at:


or Shu-hui Peng at:


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