Prosodic grouping in Chinese trisyllabic structures by multiple cues—tone coarticulation, tone sandhi and consonant lenition

Wei Lai, Jianjing Kuang


Traditionally, the prosodic domain as has been called ‘foot’ in Mandarin Chinese is considered to be derivable from the application of Tone 3 sandhi rule. This study investigated the internal prosodic grouping of Chinese trisyllabic structures by examining multiple cues in parallel – tone coarticulation, tone sandhi application and consonant lenition. Analyses by tone coarticulation and consonant lenition were consistent with each other, both showing a grouping effect between the former two syllables in a trisyllabic structure. This pattern is especially evident on the fast speech rate condition. However, these analyses contradicted the analysis by tone sandhi, in that tone sandhi application indicated a prior grouping effect between the latter two syllables in trisyllabic nominal phrases and verbal phrases. The finding that tone sandhi domain violated the minor rhythmic unit reflected by consonant lenition and tone coarticulation suggested that foot formation and tone sandhi application might not be the same process in Mandarin. It was argued that “foot” was encoded and reflected by rhythmically organized phonetic cues such as pitch and timing, not by tone sandhi.


DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2016-34

Cite as

Lai, W., Kuang, J. (2016) Prosodic grouping in Chinese trisyllabic structures by multiple cues—tone coarticulation, tone sandhi and consonant lenition. Proc. Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016, 157-161.

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Lai+2016,
author={Wei Lai and Jianjing Kuang},
title={Prosodic grouping in Chinese trisyllabic structures by multiple cues—tone coarticulation, tone sandhi and consonant lenition},
year=2016,
booktitle={Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016},
doi={10.21437/TAL.2016-34},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2016-34},
pages={157--161}
}