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MARTHA SUSAN WRIGHT, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation presents studies of tone sandhi in four major southeast Chinese dialects, Fuzhou, Shanghai, Chaozhou and Amoy, with major emphasis on Fuzhou. The dissertation argues that the sandhi found in two of these dialects is the result of an interaction between duration and tone, which interaction can be expressed easily within the limits of the "metrical theory" on stress, first developed in Liberman and Prince (1977) and expanded in recent works, most notably Hayes (1980). Fuzhou and Shanghai, which have some of the more complicated sandhi systems of the Chinese languages, are argued to have two or three syllable stress-feet, with a strongly stressed syllable grouped together with weakly stressed syllables. The weakly stressed syllables are shown to have shortened duration and loss of part of all of the original distinctive tonal contour. The details of this loss and constraints on the tonal phonology of Fuzhou and Shanghai form the bulk of the discussion of this dissertation. These dialects are contrasted to the Southern Min dialects of Amoy and Chaozhou, for which no such local level sandhi exists, and for which the analysis argues for phrase-lev phrase-final tonal changes from the traditional 'combination' form to the traditional 'isolation' form. This unorthodox approach to tonal changes in these dialects is shown to simplify morphological processes and local tone rules which exist in these languages. Finally, a fragment of Fuzhou external sandhi patterns is examined and the analysis argues that the same types of rules which apply to form stress-feet re-apply at the phrase-level. Certain complications are brought about in external sandhi due to the special nature of clitics in stress rules, and the part which thematic roles play in defining domains, but the general pattern is clear: phrase-level stressing in Fuzhou is a fairly local pattern, which forms a clear contrast to Southern Min dialects.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

WRIGHT, MARTHA SUSAN, "A METRICAL APPROACH TO TONE SANDHI IN CHINESE DIALECTS" (1983). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8310348.