Recently tones have been analyzed as articulatory gestures, which can be coordinated with segmental gestures (Gao, 2008). Using Electromagnetic Articulometry (EMA), this paper investigates the timing patterns in Tone3 variants under the framework of Articulatory Phonology (AP). Mandarin third tone sandhi (Tone3 —> T3S / ___ Tone3) is purportedly neutralizing in that the sandhi output (T3S) is acoustically very similar to Tone2. Despite that they have similar pitch contours, there exist subtle acoustic differences. However, the differences in the underlying representation between T3S and Tone2 remain unclear. Analyses of the timing of tonal gestures and articulatory gestures show that purported neutralized phonological contrast between T3S and Tone2 can nonetheless exhibit timing differences in Mandarin tone sandhi. Furthermore, it is likely that interactions between underlying and derived variants are the source of the incomplete neutralization.

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