Phonology of Adur Niesu in Liangshan, Sichuan

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This study describes the segmental and suprasegmental phonology of Adur Niesu, a Loloish (or Ngwi) language spoken mainly in Liangshan, Sichuan, southwest China. Phonemically, there are 41 consonants, 10 monophthongs and 1 diphthong in Adur Niesu. All Adur syllables are open. Its segmental changes mainly happen to the vowels, featuring high vowel fricativization, vowel lowering, vowel centralization, vowel assimilation and vowel fusion. It is common for Adur Niesu syllables to be reduced in continuous speech, with floating tones left. There are three main types of syllable reduction: complete reduction including the segment and tone, partial reduction with a floating tone left, and partial reduction with the initial consonant left. Adur Niesu employs tones as an important means for lexical contrast, namely, high-level tone 55, mid-level tone 33, and low-falling tone 21. There is also a sandhi tone 44. There are two types of tonal alternation: tone sandhi and tone change. Tone sandhi occurs at both word and phrasal levels, and is conditioned by the phonetic environment, while tone change occurs due to the morphosyntactic environment. Finally, some seeming tonal alternation is the result of a floating tone after syllable reduction. Copyright © 2023 by the author.
Original languageEnglish
Article number164
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


Ding, H. (2023). Phonology of Adur Niesu in Liangshan, Sichuan. Languages, 8(3), Article 164.


  • Adur Niesu
  • Phonology
  • Consonants
  • Vowels
  • Tones
  • Tone sandhi
  • Tone change


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