This thesis presents a survey of the central aspects of the phonology of
Shaoxing Chinese from a synchronic perspective and on the basis of recent
theoretical phonological developments, with the secondary goal of casting
some light on current issues in the phonology of Modern Chinese (Mandarin).
In particular, the thesis presents an analysis of syllable structure,
focusing on the syllabic status of the prenuclear glide in Shaoxing. It
captures this by way of a multiple-specifier X-bar syllable structure,
which allows a syllable to be parsed into Onset and Final, instead of Onset
and Rhyme. It argues that the prenuclear glide in Shaoxing is neither in
the Onset nor in the Rhyme, but located in the specifier position of N"".
This thesis claims that both voiced initial obstruents and low-register
tones, though in complementary distribution, occur in the underlying
representation in Shaoxing. It assumes that there are "filler" onsets in
the surface representation to satisfy the consonant-tone correlation and
that there are also onsetless syllables, which are toneless when unstressed.
The thesis also presents a systematic and explicit formulation of the
intricacies of tone sandhi in SX. It assumes that tone sandhi in Shaoxing
is realized by tone feature spreading and delinking, and does not involve
register features. It presents a metrically-based analysis with a
hierarchical constraint ranking that precisely captures the tonal sandhi
behaviour and accounts for all the sandhi rules in Shaoxing disyllabic
This thesis is of interest for general phonologists and for phonologists
working on Chinese languages.