The acquisition of tone sandhi of the Xiamen dialect

Xiaolin Li, Peggy Pik Ki Mok


The focus of the present study is the child acquisition of tone sandhi patterns in the Xiamen dialect. The Xiamen dialect, which belongs to the Southern Min dialect family, is well-known for having complex tone sandhi patterns. The tone sandhi patterns of free tones are called as tone circle as there is an A→ B→A pattern. The checked tones’ sandhi patterns are influenced by codas. Very little is known for how children acquire complex tone sandhi patterns. The present study tested children’s ability to apply tone sandhi by a picture-naming task using both real words and semi-wug words. The results showed that both young and old children were able to apply tone sandhi to real words. Though the old children group had much better performance than the young children group in the semi-wug words, they failed to reach the adult-like proficiency. Since the old children group in the present study was quite old (9;2 - 12;2, M = 10;6), the acquisition of complex tone sandhi patterns seems to finish late.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-98

Cite as: Li, X., Mok, P.P.K. (2020) The acquisition of tone sandhi of the Xiamen dialect. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 479-483, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-98.


@inproceedings{Li2020,
  author={Xiaolin Li and Peggy Pik Ki Mok},
  title={{The acquisition of tone sandhi of the Xiamen dialect}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={479--483},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-98},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-98}
}