, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 279-297
Date: 30 Aug 2008

Phonetic knowledge in tonal adaptation: Mandarin and English loanwords in Lhasa Tibetan

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In this paper we present the results of a study of the tonal adaptation of a corpus of c. 300 Mandarin and 40 English loanwords in Lhasa Tibetan drawn from Yu et al.’s (Colloquial Lhasa Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary, 1980). Our principal finding is that no equivalence is made between the Mandarin tones/English stress contours and Lhasa Tibetan tones. Instead, tones are assigned by a combination of default rules of Tibetan grammar and UG enhancement processes familiar from the tonogenesis literature.