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ERIC Number: EJ883805
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 70
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8309
Cross-Language Perception of Non-Native Tonal Contrasts: Effects of Native Phonological and Phonetic Influences
So, Connie K.; Best, Catherine T.
Language and Speech, v53 n2 p273-293 2010
This study examined the perception of the four Mandarin lexical tones by Mandarin-naive Hong Kong Cantonese, Japanese, and Canadian English listener groups. Their performance on an identification task, following a brief familiarization task, was analyzed in terms of tonal sensitivities (A-prime scores on correct identifications) and tonal errors (confusions). The A-prime results revealed that the English listeners' sensitivity to Tone 4 identifications specifically was significantly lower than that of the other two groups. The analysis of tonal errors revealed that all listener groups showed perceptual confusion of tone pairs with similar phonetic features (T1-T2, T1-T4 and T2-T3 pairs), but not of those with completely dissimilar features (T1-T3, T2-T4, and T3-T4). Language-specific errors were also observed in their performance, which may be explained within the framework of the Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM: Best, 1995; Best & Tyler, 2007). The findings imply that linguistic experience with native tones does not necessarily facilitate non-native tone perception. Rather, the phonemic status and the phonetic features (similarities or dissimilarities) between the tonal systems of the target language and the listeners' native languages play critical roles in the perception of non-native tones. (Contains 1 table, 3 figures, and 9 footnotes.)
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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
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong