Third-tone sandhi in Mandarin Chinese: An experimentally based optimality theoretic account
AdvisorDemers, Richard A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIt has long been observed in Mandarin Chinese that when two third tones are adjacent, the preceding third tone is realized as a second tone while the following one remains third tone. This is known as the Third Tone Sandhi Rule (TTSR). The application of TTSR in strings with more than two syllables also takes places, and is subject to the influence of syntax and semantics. The purpose of this study is to examine TTSR applications in both nonsense and meaningful strings. In the former case, this study aims to establish a purely phonological pattern for TTSR application. In the latter, this study incorporates findings in the former and explores how syntactic information is used to establish phonological structure. The analysis is conducted in the Optimality framework, where the mapping between phonology and syntax can be modeled using a set of general structural and alignment constraints. This study supports the proposition that conjunction and disjunction of constraints should be allowed to capture the complexity of syntactic structures. In addition, hierarchical phonological structures are necessary to characterize the influence of syntactic hierarchical structure on phonology. In accounting for TTSR applications, this study proposes that TTSR can be evaluated in different phonological domains but such evaluations need not be conducted in a cyclical manner.
Degree ProgramGraduate College