Shanghainese - Phonology - Tones - Tone Sandhi

Tone Sandhi

Tone sandhi is a process whereby adjacent tones undergo dramatic alteration in connected speech. Similar to other Northern Wu dialects, Shanghainese is characterized by two forms of tone sandhi: a word tone sandhi and a phrasal tone sandhi.

Word tone sandhi in Shanghainese can be described as left-prominent and is characterized by a dominance of the first syllable over the contour of the entire tone domain. As a result, the underlying tones of syllables other than the leftmost syllable, have no effect on the tone contour of the domain. The pattern is generally described as tone spreading (T1-4) or tone shifting (T5, except for 4- and 5-syllable compounds, which can undergo spreading or shifting). The table below illustrates possible tone combinations.

Left-Prominent Sandhi Tone Values
Tone One syllable Two syllables Three syllables Four syllables Five syllables
T1 52 55 22 55 44 22 55 44 33 22 55 44 33 33 22
T2 34 33 44 33 44 22 33 44 33 22 33 44 33 33 22
T3 14 11 44 11 44 11 11 44 33 11 11 44 33 22 11
T4 44 33 44 33 44 22 33 44 33 22 33 44 33 22 22
T5 24 11 24 11 11 24 11 22 22 24
22 44 33 11
11 11 11 11 24
22 44 33 22 11

As an example, in isolation, the two syllables of the word for China are pronounced with T1 and T4: /tsʊ̆ŋ52/ and /kwə̆ʔ44/. However, when pronounced in combination, T1 from /tsʊ̆ŋ/ spreads over the compound resulting in the following pattern /tsʊ̆ŋ55kwə̆ʔ22/. Similarly, the syllables in a common expression for foolish have the following underlying phonemic and tonal representations: /zə̆ʔ24/ (T5), /sɛ̝52/ (T1), and /ti34/ (T2). However, the syllables in combination exhibit the T5 shifting pattern where the first-syllable T5 shifts to the last syllabe in the domain: /zə̆ʔ11sɛ̝11

Read more about this topic:  Shanghainese, Phonology, Tones

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Famous quotes containing the word tone:

    Candor is a proof of both a just frame of mind, and of a good tone of breeding. It is a quality that belongs equally to the honest man and to the gentleman.
    James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851)