Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



The purpose of this study is to test the applicability of Tone Three Sandhi (T3S) when the critical syllable is a monosyllabic topic preceding a topic boundary. A recitation task from 37 native speakers of Taiwan Mandarin was employed. The results from human judgements indicated that the participants predominantly produced the critical syllables with Tone 3 (T3). Additionally, the fundamental frequency of the critical syllables demonstrated a falling contour, showing that T3S was not applied. Intonation break-ups and the prolongation of the critical syllables lent strong support to the view that the topic syllable was at an intonation/phonological phrase-final position. The findings can be elegantly accommodated by constraint-based analyses, which propose that T3S must be avoided when two T3 syllables are separated by an intonation/phonological phrase boundary. Issues relating to pauses, speech rates and word frequency effects are also discussed.

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