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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

In this paper, a floating tonal reduplicant suffix is proposed to re-analyze Changzhi Chinese suffix tone sandhi (Hou 1983), which has been presented as major evidence for Contour Tone Units (CTU). All stem contour tones in Changzhi, except one stem level tone, overwrite the underlying tone (HMH) of the adjectival and diminutive suffixes. In Yip (1980, 1989), this process was analyzed as spreading contour tones as units. The stem level tone was assumed to be assigned by a Default Tone Rule ordered after the tonal spreading rule. However, this CTU-based analysis has a problem of ordering paradox that derives incorrect outputs of the general disyllabic patterns. Combining with the primary concept of ‘tonal copying’ process proposed by Duanmu (1990, 1994), the framework of Base-Reduplicant Correspondence (McCarthy and Prince 1994, 1995) of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993/2004) has a more plausible explanation to Changzhi suffix tone sandhi. The OT analysis suggests that a floating tonal reduplicant T-RED accompanies the suffixes in Changzhi. The correspondence between the stem tonemes and T-RED is faithful, and the latter docks onto the suffixes whose underlying tonemes are then overwritten by this process. The stem level tone is not an exception; it undergoes the same reduplication process, but covertly, with the unchanged surface tonal sequence.

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