In most languages , focus ( i.e . highlighting information ) is marked by modifying the melody of the sentence . But how is focus marked in a Chinese dialect with eight different citation tones and a complex tonal phonology ? This thesis investigates the connection between tonal realization and tone change ( tone sandhi ) in Wenzhou Chinese , and whether and how such a connection is conditioned by prosodic structure and focus marking . Experiments were conducted with young speakers of Wenzhou Chinese , whose speech was acoustically analyzed so as to investigate the application domain of tone sandhi and the influence of focus thereon , the tonal realization on the word and phrase level and its interaction with focus , the pre - planning of sentential pitch , as well as the realization of referents with different information statuses . The experimental findings suggest that the application , but not the implementation , of tone sandhi is independent of focus , and that focus and prosodic structure have similar but independent effects on the realization of lexical tones . It is also shown that pitch scaling is sensitive to syntactic structure and complexity , and that the marking of givenness , broad focus , and narrow focus leads to discrete levels along the same acoustic parameters . These findings are of interest to researchers working on lexical tone , prosodic structure , and how information structure categories such as focus affect tonal realization and prosodic phrasing .