A Systemic Functional Matrix of Chinese Phonology


  • Ou Yali Chang'an University
  • Liu Chengyu Southwest University




Chinese, phonology, delicacy, function, rank, system, systemic functional linguistics


This paper looks at the Chinese phonological system from within a Systemic Functional framework. It discusses such prosodic features as r-ization, stress, segmental lengthening and shortening, rhyming and tone accordance. These work for the hierarchically ranked units of syllable (initial and final), prosodic word (PW: standard PW, super PW and degenerate foot), prosodic phrase and intonational group on the one hand, across the diversified systems of ideational, interpersonal and textual functions on the other. The two dimensions hence constitute a systemic-functional matrix, with the system as the basis and the function as the motive.

Author Biographies

  • Ou Yali, Chang'an University

    Yali Ou, born on 15 September in Guang’an City, Sichuan Province, China, is currently working as a lecturer at the School of Foreign Studies, Chang’an University in Xi’an, Shaanxi, China. She got her MA degree in English Linguistics at the College of International Studies, Southwest University. Her research interests include phonology and second language acquisition. So far she has published a number of papers in these fields.

  • Liu Chengyu, Southwest University

    Chengyu Liu, born on 10 November, 1963 in Zigong City, Sichuan Province, China, is currently working as a professor at the College of International Studies, Southwest University in Chongqing, China. He got his PhD in English linguistics at Xiamen University. His research interests include systemic functional linguistics, discourse analysis, stylistics, multilingualism and multilingual education. To date, he has published two monographs and over 40 papers in academic journals.


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How to Cite

Yali, O., & Chengyu, L. (2015). A Systemic Functional Matrix of Chinese Phonology. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 10(3), 220-246. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v10i3.29299