The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 4/6 - Chingting Chuang

Speaker: Chingting Chuang (National Tsinghua University)
Title: How does circular chain shift tone sandhi evolve?
Date: Monday, April 6th
Time: 5-6:30
Place: 32D-831

Penang Hokkien (PH) is a representative variety of Southern Min Chinese spoken by the descendants of emigrants from the Chinese province of Fuijian in Northern Malaysia. In previous studies (Chang & Chuang, 2012) and (Chuang, Chang, & Hsieh, 2013), it has been observed that the original tonal system remains intact among older speakers, especially the famous chainshift tone sandhi rules (see Chen 2000), while language change occurs among younger speakers. The goals of this talk are twofold: first, we examined an interesting phenomenon of synchronic reorganization of tonal inventories by obtaining data from more speakers and more age groups. Our results conform to previous results that tonal reorganization can be shown in three stages and the pace of sound change differs by syntactic position. Second, we are going to show that tonal variation in stage 2 (intermediate stage) is context-sensitive. Speakers are sensitive to the neighboring tones when they choose a variant such that the pattern of consecutive F tones is dispreferred by stage 2 learners.