Gradient Acceptability in Mandarin Nonword Judgment

Shuxiao Gong, Jie Zhang


Syllable well-formedness judgment experiments reveal that speakers exhibit gradient judgment on novel words, and the gradience has been attributed to both grammatical factors and lexical statistics (e.g., Coetzee, 2008). This study investigates gradient phonotactics stemming from the violations of four types of grammatical constraints in Mandarin Chinese: 1) principled phonotactic constraints, 2) accidental phonotactic constraints, 3) allophonic restrictions, and 4) segmental-tonal cooccurrence restrictions. A syllable well-formedness judgment experiment was conducted with native Mandarin speakers to examine how the grammatical and lexical statistics factors contribute to the variation in phonotactic acceptability judgment.


Mandarin; Phonotactics; Acceptability Judgment

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