recently, i have been wondering if there is a vowel shift happening in taiwanese mandarin. certainly, youngish people today speak a version of mandarin that sounds different from the norms of older people. it’s not just usage. generally, when my friends complain that they cannot understand their children, they mean cultural references and slang. beyond this cohort difference in usage, however, there seems to be a change in the way that vowels get articulated
the most obvious phrase to hear this shift is the commonly heard 對啊 (dui4 a)
in standard mandarin, “ui” is a relatively high and flat diphthong, sort of pronounced like “way” in standard american english. nearly no one under the age of 30 pronounces it that way. instead, the “ui” vowel has become increasingly rounder and lower. in some ways, this pronunciation follows the hoklo / minnan reading (tioh), but has much less bounce, not to mention no glottal stop at the end. and the “a” at the end seems to steal more of the phrase until duia begins to sound like “dyuh”
i wonder whether anyone else has noticed changing phonetics of taiwanese mandarin? examples?