Variation in Mandarin Tone 3 Sandhi

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This paper examines variation in Mandarin Tone 3 Sandhi (T3S) with a focus on the case of prepositions and pronouns. The presence of a preposition produces an additional T3S surface pattern, and pronouns behave differently from nouns in T3S application. The major approach to analyzing these cases in the literature relies primarily on derivational processes through which multiple T3S patterns are derived. Zhang (1997) analyzes examples with prepositions and pronouns within the non-derivational Optimality Theoretic (OT) framework through a two-step-two-tableau process. We adopt Coetzee’s (2006) one-step OT variation model to account for the behavior of prepositions and pronouns in T3S and the variability in T3S surface forms, two of the challenging aspects in analyzing T3S application in sentences.


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