Modeling Mandarin rhotacization with Recursive Schemes
Keywords:Mandarin, rhotacization, sonority, recursive schemes
This paper pursues a novel analysis of Mandarin rhotacization using Sonority Scale and characterizes this phonological process computationally with BOOLEAN MONADIC RECURSIVE SCHEMES (BMRSs, Chandlee & Jardine 2021). Mandarin rhotacization shows an asymmetry between high front vowels (i.e. [i, y] and high back vowels [u] vowels. Diverging from previous phonetics-based accounts to explain this asymmetry (Chao 1968; Duanmu 2007; a. o.), I propose that adjacent segments compete in terms of sonority in order to surface and present a refined, detailed sonority ranking in Mandarin. Finally, the if...then...else syntax in BMRSs elegantly formalizes the sonority competition between segments.
Published by the LSA with permission of the author(s) under a CC BY 4.0 license.