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清華學報 Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
清華學報 Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies


On the Psychological Status of the Tone Sandhi Phenomena in Taiwanese

Vol. 23 No. 2   6/1993   

On the Psychological Status of the Tone Sandhi Phenomena in Taiwanese
H. Sam Wang 
Genre Article  
Key words
    This study explores how the Taiwanese speakers handle the tone sandhi phenomena psychologically. A longitudinal experiment which lasted for four month was conducted. In the experiment, 14 nonce syllables (words) were constructed, and the subjects were asked to produce the forms in sandhi environments. The results showed that: 
    1. The subjects produce a total of about 50% expected sandhi forms, which is at odds with the results of Hsieh’s (1970) study. P2. more expected sandhi forms were observed in the latter part of the experiment than in the first part. This is probably due to the subjects gradually adjusting themselves to the new forms. P3. the sandhi behaviors observed in the two nonce words of the same tone were comparable, but those among different tones showed great variances. 
    from these results, we suggest that: the base tone and the sandhi tone of a word coexist in the lexicon. The base tone is directly related to the sandhi tone, without the mediation of the rules. The sandhi rule is one o the devices which language users employ to organize the lexicon; it does not define competence. The sandhi behaviors are influenced not only by sandhi rules, but also by analogy and product-oriented schemas. We therefore propose the notion of superstructure and substructure. This notion says that linguistic units (such as syllables and words) are linked to each other 
in substructure, due to their phonetic and semantic relationships, and form “analogical chains”, which become the bases for the formation of the more abstract superstructures. The superstructures are formed to help organize the elements in the substructure. Therefore the linguistic behaviors are not thought of as rule-governed; rather, rules exist to serve the organization of linguistic units


Author : H. Sam Wang
Genre : Article