PF Merger would Do, too: A Reply to Zhang (1997)


  • David Ta-Chun SHEN Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University



Mandarin, third tone sandhi, PF merger


The analysis for the phenomenon that prepositions may or may not undergo the third tone sandhi in Mandarin in Zhang (1997) is reviewed. She considers that this phenomenon is short of sound coverage and couches her analysis in the framework of Optimality Theory (OT). However, upon scrutiny, Zhang’s analysis invites unnecessary questions. The postulation of two “constituent strength” constraints is with no foundation. It is difficult to grab the idea behind the constituent-strength concept even till now. Related to the concept, the non-specification of a prepositional phrase is not clear. Instead, the syntactic feature manifestation could mark a preposition’s uniqueness. In addition, the misuse of the Generalized Alignment and stipulations toward the evaluations in OT are spotted, too. My synthetic approach, based on the extant and developing knowledge about constituency, PF merger, and Shih’s (1997) foot formation, shows that for this phenomenon, no new device is needed.


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20. 10. 2011



Research articles

How to Cite

SHEN, D. T.-C. (2011). PF Merger would Do, too: A Reply to Zhang (1997). Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 1(2), 9-24.