A unified approach to Tianjin trisyllabic tone sandhi: Metrical conditions and tonal complexity

Xiaomei Wang, Yen-Hwei Lin


Tianjin (Chinese) exhibits complex interactions among its disyllabic tone sandhi rules, leading to both left-to-right and right-to-left rule applications in trisyllabic sequences (cf. Chen 1986, X. Wang 2003). Which directionality to adopt for each particular trisyllabic sequence is arbitrary and cannot be accounted for by any known principles. Based on data from a recent acoustic study, our phonological analysis demonstrates that the seemingly ungoverned directionality is only apparent and that Tianjin tone sandhi rules apply only from left to right when both metrical and tonal complexity conditions are satisfied, thereby providing a unified account. 


Tianjin Chinese; trisyllabic tone sandhi; metrical structure; tonal complexity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v2i0.4063

Copyright (c) 2017 Xiaomei Wang, Yen-Hwei Lin

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