Using Nonce-probe Tests and Auditory Priming to Investigate Speakers' Phonological Knowledge of Tone Sandhi

Jie Zhang


Recent phonological research has shown that speakers may both overlearn and underlearn from lexical patterns of their language. This points to the importance of experimental studies to the construction of phonological analysis. In this paper, I explore the use of nonce-probe tests and auditory priming in the investigation of speakers’ tacit knowledge of tone sandhi in a variety of Chinese dialects, with a particular focus on the effect of opacity on how speakers internalize the sandhi pattern. Nonce-probe results show that opaque tone sandhis typically lack full productivity and often categorically fail to apply to novel words, while transparent sandhis are more productive. Auditory priming studies show that disyllabic words undergoing an opaque sandhi on the first syllable are more strongly primed by a syllable carrying the sandhi tone, while words undergoing a transparent sandhi are more strongly primed by the base tone. These results suggest that speakers internalize opaque sandhis as the listing of allomorphs, while transparent sandhis can be derived through productive phonological processes from the base tone.


DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2016-3

Cite as

Zhang, J. (2016) Using Nonce-probe Tests and Auditory Priming to Investigate Speakers' Phonological Knowledge of Tone Sandhi. Proc. Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016, 12-18.

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Zhang2016,
author={Jie Zhang},
title={Using Nonce-probe Tests and Auditory Priming to Investigate Speakers' Phonological Knowledge of Tone Sandhi},
year=2016,
booktitle={Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016},
doi={10.21437/TAL.2016-3},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2016-3},
pages={12--18}
}