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ERIC Number: EJ1151262
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Assessing the Importance of Lexical Tone Contour to Sentence Perception in Mandarin-Speaking Children with Normal Hearing
Zhu, Shufeng; Wong, Lena L. N.; Wang, Bin; Chen, Fei
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v60 n7 p2116-2123 Jul 2017
Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of lexical tone contour and age on sentence perception in quiet and in noise conditions in Mandarin-speaking children ages 7 to 11 years with normal hearing. Method: Test materials were synthesized Mandarin sentences, each word with a manipulated lexical contour, that is, normal contour, flat contour, or a tone contour randomly selected from the four Mandarin lexical tone contours. A convenience sample of 75 Mandarin-speaking participants with normal hearing, ages 7, 9, and 11 years (25 participants in each age group), was selected. Participants were asked to repeat the synthesized speech in quiet and in speech spectrum-shaped noise at 0 dB signal-to-noise ratio. Results: In quiet, sentence recognition by the 11-year-old children was similar to that of adults, and misrepresented lexical tone contours did not have a detrimental effect. However, the performance of children ages 9 and 7 years was significantly poorer. The performance of all three age groups, especially the younger children, declined significantly in noise. Conclusions: The present research suggests that lexical tone contour plays an important role in Mandarin sentence recognition, and misrepresented tone contours result in greater difficulty in sentence recognition in younger children. These results imply that maturation and/or language use experience play a role in the processing of tone contours for Mandarin speech understanding, particularly in noise.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A