English adaptation in Mandarin A-not-A constructions

Minqi Liu


A-not-A refers to a Mandarin reduplication construction where the underlying form /RED-pu-A/ contains a reduplication of the first syllable in A. In this study I investigate the kinds of adaptations that occur when an English word serves as the base A in code-switching speech. Since the complex onsets and most codas allowed in English are illegal in Mandarin syllables, the reduplicated part is expected to adapt to Mandarin phonotactics to some degree. I ran a production experiment where 20 native Mandarin-speakers were asked to produce A-not-A constructions with 55 mono- and multi-syllabic English words. Results from the experiment showed varied adaptation methods in syllable structure and tones. To model the results, I used the Maximum Entropy Harmonic Grammar (MaxEnt) with weighted constraints on syllable structure markedness and base-reduplicant faithfulness.


reduplication; Mandarin-English code-switching; phonotactics; sonority; tone; maximum entropy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4552

Copyright (c) 2019 Minqi Liu

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