Dissertation Defense: Mao-Hsu Chen

Apr 26, 2018 at - | The Linguistics Seminar Room (3rd floor, 3401-C Walnut Street Suite 300, C Wing -- Room 326)

Mao-Hsu Chen will be defending his dissertation:


Title: Tone Sandhi Phenomena in Taiwan Southern Min
Supervisor: Mark Liberman
Committee: Jianjing Kuang, David Embick

Time: Thursday, April 26th, 2:00 pm
Location:Linguistics Seminar Room(Room 326)




This dissertation investigates various aspects of the tone sandhi phenomena in Taiwan Southern Min. Previous studies have reported complete tonal neutralization between the two sandhi 33 variants derived respectively from citation 55 and 24 variants, leading to the claim that tone sandhi in this language is categorical. The fact that tone sandhi in TSM is assumed to possess a mixture of properties of lexical and postlexical rules gives rise to the debate over the status of this phonological rule.

The findings of the dissertation shows incomplete neutralization between the two sandhi 33 variants with an indication of an ongoing sound change towards a near- or complete tonal merger, possibly led by female speakers. In addition, citation form is proposed to be more underlyingly represented on account of the fact that subjects, especially old speakers, have stronger association with citation variants than with sandhi variants in the priming experiment. The spontaneous corpus study suggests that the Tone Circle is merely a phonological idealization in light of the systematic subphonemic difference in f0 between citation X and sandhi X that are supposed to correspond even with some control of conceivable confounding factors. By comparing direct- and indirect-reference models, I argue that tone sandhi in TSM should be analyzed as a head-left Concatenation rule within a DM-based theoretical framework.