No More Conflicting Directionality: Metrical Conditions on Tianjin Chinese Trisyllabic Tone Sandhi

Xiaomei Wang, Yen-Hwei Lin


Tianjin Chinese (hereafter Tianjin) exhibits complex interactions among its disyllabic tone sandhi rules, leading to both left-to-right and right-to-left rule applications in trisyllabic sequences (e.g. Chen 1986, X. Wang 2003, Lin 2008). Which directionality to adopt for each particular sequence is arbitrary and cannot be accounted for by any known principles. In addition, some disyllabic tone sandhi rules do not always apply in trisyllabic sequences. Based on the results of a multi-speaker acoustic study, we propose that both issues can be attributed to interactions of metrical structures, sandhi rules, and tonal complexity. We claim that Tianjin tone sandhi applies when both metrical and tonal complexity conditions are satisfied, thereby removing the need for conflicting directionality.


Tone Sandhi, Metrical Structure, Tonal Complexity

Full Text:



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

License URL: