14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


The Syntax-Phonology Interface in Taiwanese: Acoustic Evidence

Jane Tsay (1), Jan Charles-Luce (2), Yung-Song Guo (1)

(1) National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan; (2) State University of New York at Buffalo, USA

Taiwanese tone sandhi (TTS) is a phrase-level tone alternation between the syntactically defined juncture and the context forms of a morpheme. The goals of the acoustic study were to investigate (i) whether the alternation between juncture and context tones is categorical; (ii) whether there are cues for the domain of application of TTS other than the tone alternation itself. The question of categoricality was addressed by comparing the F0's of juncture and context forms that have been described as having the same surface tones, and results showed that F0's of these two tones were not significantly different. Phrase-final lengthening was found in juncture position, showing that there is a prosodic correlate of TTS available in adult speech. We argue that syntactically defined categorical phrase-level phonology like TTS must be mediated by prosodic structure in order to avoid a paradox in language acquisition.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tsay, Jane / Charles-Luce, Jan / Guo, Yung-Song (1999): "The syntax-phonology interface in Taiwanese: acoustic evidence", In ICPhS-14, 2407-2410.