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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Testing the role of phonetic knowledge in Mandarin tone sandhi
Author: Jie Zhang
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Author: Yuwen Lai
Institution: National Chiao Tung University
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Phonological patterns often have phonetic bases. But whether phonetic substance should be encoded in synchronic phonological grammar is controversial. We aim to test the synchronic relevance of phonetics by investigating native Mandarin speakers' applications of two exceptionless tone sandhi processes to novel words: the contour reduction 213→21/—T (T≠213), which has a clear phonetic motivation, and the perceptually neutralising 213→35/—213, whose phonetic motivation is less clear. In two experiments, Mandarin subjects were asked to produce two individual monosyllables together as two different types of novel disyllabic words. Results show that speakers apply the 213→21 sandhi with greater accuracy than the 213→35 sandhi in novel words, indicating a synchronic bias against the phonetically less motivated pattern. We also show that lexical frequency is relevant to the application of the sandhis to novel words, but cannot account alone for the low sandhi accuracy of 213→35.


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 27, Issue 1.

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