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Nik Taylor wrote:

>John Cowan wrote:
>> Too strong.  Mandarin has many toneless syllables, especially
>> grammatical particles (their pitch is determined in a complex way
>> by the tones of surrounding syllables).
>
>Ah, so these "toneless" syllables carry a tone determined solely by
>their environment?  Never knew that.  Still, are there any lexical items
>that are toneless?

I believe that some lexical roots lose their inherent tone when they
appear in compounds, but I could be wrong.  It's been a few years
since I studied Mandarin...

Matt.