Mechanisms of Tone Sandhi Rule Application by Non-Native Speakers

Si Chen, Yunjuan He, Chun Wah Yuen, Bei Li, Yike Yang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


This study is the first to examine acquisition of two Mandarin tone sandhi rules by Cantonese speakers. It designs both real and different types of wug words to test whether learners may exploit a lexical or computation mechanism in tone sandhi rule application. We also statistically compared their speech production with Beijing Mandarin speakers. The results of functional data analysis showed that non-native speakers applied tone sandhi rules both to real and wug words in a similar manner, indicating that they might utilize a computation mechanism and compute the rules under phonological conditions. No significant differences in applying these two phonological rules on reading wug words also suggest no bias in the application of these two rules. However, their speech production differed from native speakers. The application of third tone sandhi rule was more categorical than native speakers in that Cantonese speakers tended to neutralize the sandhi Tone 3 more with Tone 2 produced in isolation compared to native speakers. Also, Cantonese speakers might not have applied half-third tone sandhi rule fully since they tended to raise f0 values more at the end of vowels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterspeech 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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