Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 55–105 | Cite as

Tonal (non-)transfer in Kunming Reduplication

  • Hui-shan LinEmail author


In this paper, I discuss tonal reduplication in Kunming, which has received little attention in the formal linguistics literature. Based on first hand data, I show that tonal reduplication in Kunming is interesting in two respects. First, a Base tone is not always transferred to the RED (reduplicant); while a Hr (high register) Base tone (i.e., yinping 44, shangsheng 53) is transferred to the RED, the RED corresponding to a Lr (low register) Base tone (i.e., yangping 31, qusheng 11) surfaces with a non-correspondent high tone. I propose that the non-corresponding high tone comes from a floating tone that accompanies reduplication and is only realized on the RED corresponding to Lr Base tones, but not to Hr Base tones, because Hr Base tones are prominent and more easily preserved on the RED. Second, as far as yinping tone sandhi is concerned, though it applies normally on the Base and outside the BR complex, on the RED it unexpectedly underapplies when the RED carries a yinping tone copied from the Base. I propose that tone sandhi underapplies only on a copied yinping tone, and not elsewhere, because only underapplication of yinping tone sandhi in this case can help improve BR Identity.


Kunming reduplication Tonal (non-)transfer Underapplication of tone sandhi Optimality Theory 


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I would like to thank my Kunming consultants, Liang-Zhu Huang 黃良珠, Yao-Hua Li 李耀華, Ju, Kong孔菊, and Xiao-Mei Wu 武笑梅, for their help with the language data. This paper could not appear without their help. Some ideas proposed here were presented to audiences at the 20th Annual International Conference of the Japanese Society for Language Sciences at Bunkyo Gakuin University, Japan, in 2018. I would like to thank the audiences there for their comments. I am also grateful to the three anonymous reviewers and the editors whose detailed and valuable comments have helped improve the content of this paper tremendously. All possible errors are my own responsibility. This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, with Project Number MOST 105-2410-H-003-096-.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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