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Tone perception and production by Cantonese-speaking and English- speaking L2 learners of Mandarin Chinese Yen-Chen Hao Indiana University.

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Presentation on theme: "Tone perception and production by Cantonese-speaking and English- speaking L2 learners of Mandarin Chinese Yen-Chen Hao Indiana University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tone perception and production by Cantonese-speaking and English- speaking L2 learners of Mandarin Chinese Yen-Chen Hao Indiana University

2 Purpose of this study: Examine the perception and production of Mandarin Chinese tones by second language learners whose native languages differ. Examine the perception and production of Mandarin Chinese tones by second language learners whose native languages differ. We expect that the native languages of second language learners will influence their acquisition of the second language. In addition, there may be discrepancy between their perception and production of L2 elements. We expect that the native languages of second language learners will influence their acquisition of the second language. In addition, there may be discrepancy between their perception and production of L2 elements.

3 Target: Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese tones Tone 1: high-level tone (55) Tone 1: high-level tone (55) Tone 2: high-rising tone (35) Tone 2: high-rising tone (35) Tone 3: low-dipping tone (214) Tone 3: low-dipping tone (214) Tone 4: high-falling tone (51) Tone 4: high-falling tone (51)

4 Cross-language tone perception Gandour & Harshman (1978) compared the discrimination of paired synthetic tones by speakers of Thai, Yoruba and English. Some auditory dimensions were important for all three groups of subjects, like pitch height and length of the stimuli. But English speakers did not attach much importance to the contour, while speakers of tone languages did. Gandour & Harshman (1978) compared the discrimination of paired synthetic tones by speakers of Thai, Yoruba and English. Some auditory dimensions were important for all three groups of subjects, like pitch height and length of the stimuli. But English speakers did not attach much importance to the contour, while speakers of tone languages did.  Tone and non-tone language speakers may attach importance to different perceptual cues.

5 Cross-language tone perception Stagray & Downs (1993) found that speakers of tone languages are not sensitive to slight frequency changes because they make more categorical judgments of pitch. Stagray & Downs (1993) found that speakers of tone languages are not sensitive to slight frequency changes because they make more categorical judgments of pitch.  Tone language speakers tend to have more categorical perception of pitch patterns than non-tone language speakers. Francis et al. (ms) assessed Chinese and English speakers ’ identification of Cantonese tones before and after training. There is no significant difference between these two group before training. I.e. they are good at the same tones and poor at same ones as well. Francis et al. (ms) assessed Chinese and English speakers ’ identification of Cantonese tones before and after training. There is no significant difference between these two group before training. I.e. they are good at the same tones and poor at same ones as well.  L1 influence may not manifest substantially all the time.

6 Second language acquisition of Mandarin tones Perception: Kiriloff (1969) and Chen (1997) found that English- speaking learners often confused tone 2 (35) &3 (214) in perception. Kiriloff (1969) and Chen (1997) found that English- speaking learners often confused tone 2 (35) &3 (214) in perception.Production: Shen (1989)found that American learners made more register errors with Tone 1 (55) and 4 (51) and fewer errors with Tone 2 & 3. It was attributed to that Tone 1 & 4 are most similar to the pitch patterns in English and thus more susceptible to L1 interference. Shen (1989)found that American learners made more register errors with Tone 1 (55) and 4 (51) and fewer errors with Tone 2 & 3. It was attributed to that Tone 1 & 4 are most similar to the pitch patterns in English and thus more susceptible to L1 interference.

7 Second language acquisition of Mandarin tones Production (cont.) Miracle ’ s research (1989) showed that American learners made roughly the same amount of errors across the four tones. Miracle ’ s research (1989) showed that American learners made roughly the same amount of errors across the four tones. Chen (1997) found alien level tones like /22/ and /33/ often substituted the target tones. Chen (1997) found alien level tones like /22/ and /33/ often substituted the target tones.  No agreement on which tones are most difficult for second language learners.  There may be discrepancy between perception and production.

8 Tone acquisition by people with different linguistic backgrounds Sun (1998): learners with “ tone language experience ” did not make fewer errors than those who without. But their errors were more consistent. Their perception and production did not change as the target appeared in a different position. Sun (1998): learners with “ tone language experience ” did not make fewer errors than those who without. But their errors were more consistent. Their perception and production did not change as the target appeared in a different position.

9 Specific research questions 1. Which tones are more difficult for second language learners? 2. Do second language learners have the same error patterns in tone perception and production? 3. Do learners whose L1 is tonal (e.g. Cantonese) have different error patterns from learners whose L1 is not (e.g. English)?

10 Subjects subject Native language beginLOL Daily use C1Cantonese9 6 yrs 50% C2Cantonese19 < 1 yr 10% C3Cantonese8 3 yrs 85% A1English33 1.5~2 yrs 0% A2English20 3 yrs 2% A3English17 7 yrs 80%

11 Experiment Stimuli: Stimuli: - 4 syllables: /waŋ/, /ji/, /jo/, /ma/ - Monosyllabic 4 target tones × 4 syllables × 2 repetitions = 32 4 target tones × 4 syllables × 2 repetitions = 32 - Disyllabic 4 target tones × 4 syllables × 2 positions = 32 4 target tones × 4 syllables × 2 positions = 32

12 Tasks Identification: perception + linguistic categorization Identification: perception + linguistic categorization Mimicry: perception + production Mimicry: perception + production Reading: linguistic categorization + production Reading: linguistic categorization + production

13 Tasks 1. Identification: Subjects listened to the 32 monosyllabic and 32 disyllabic nonsense words presented in random order, and marked the tone of each syllable. 2. Mimicry: Subjects listened to the same 64 stimuli but in a different order and repeated each word immediately after hearing it. 3. Reading: Subjects were provided with a list of the same 64 stimuli yet in another order. Each syllable was spelt in pinyin with tonal diacritics. Subjects read each word.

14 Evaluation 2 Chinese native speakers listened to the recording of Mimicry and Reading and judged the tone of each syllable. They did the work independently and did not know the target tone when they were judging. 2 Chinese native speakers listened to the recording of Mimicry and Reading and judged the tone of each syllable. They did the work independently and did not know the target tone when they were judging.

15 English speakers: Identification (3 positions × 8 times × 3 subjects = 72 tokens) response responseTarget (level 55) 99%1% 2 (rising 35) 4%83%11%1% 3 (dipping 214) 1%15%81%3% 4 (falling 51) 3%1%96%

16 English speakers: Mimicry (3 positions × 8 times × 3 subjects × 2 judgments = 144 tokens) response responsetarget (level 55) 100% 2 (rising 35) 4%82%12%1% 3 (dipping 214) 7%90%3% 4 (falling 51) 3%1%96%

17 English speakers: Reading (3 positions × 8 times × 3 subjects × 2 judgments = 144 tokens) response responsetarget (level 55) 94%1%6%6% 2 (rising 35) 4%74%24% 3 (dipping 214) 3%20%77% 4 (falling 51) 6%1%1%92%

18 Specific research questions 1. Which tones are more difficult for second language learners? 2. Do second language learners have the same error patterns in tone perception and production? 3. Do learners whose L1 is tonal (e.g. Cantonese) have different error patterns from learners whose L1 is not (e.g. English)?

19 Discussion Tone 2 (35) and 3 (214) are most problematic. The confusion is bidirectional. Tone 2 (35) and 3 (214) are most problematic. The confusion is bidirectional. Error rate: Reading > ID > Mimicry Error rate: Reading > ID > Mimicry They have problems associating the pitch contour with the corresponding category (component shared by Reading & ID). They have problems associating the pitch contour with the corresponding category (component shared by Reading & ID).

20 Cantonese speakers: Identification response responsetarget (level 55) 82%1%17% 2 (rising 35) 14%76%8%1% 3 (dipping 214) 3%21%76% 4 (falling 51) 3%1%96%

21 Cantonese speakers: Mimicry response responsetarget (level 55) 90%10% 2 (rising 35) 1%98%1% 3 (dipping 214) 21%79% 4 (falling 51) 99%

22 Cantonese speakers: Reading response responsetarget (level 55) 88%4%8% 2 (rising 35) 7%73%20% 3 (dipping 214) 28%72% 4 (falling 51) 12%1%87%

23 Discussion If Tone 3 is misidentified, it is almost always as Tone 2, but not vice versa. If Tone 3 is misidentified, it is almost always as Tone 2, but not vice versa. There is confusion between Tone 1 (55) and 4 (51). There is confusion between Tone 1 (55) and 4 (51). Error rate: Reading > ID > Mimicry Error rate: Reading > ID > Mimicry Problem comes from linguistic categorization. Problem comes from linguistic categorization. Tone 3 biased toward 2 is persistent across tasks. Tone 3 biased toward 2 is persistent across tasks.

24 Comparison of English and Cantonese-speaking subjects Similarity: Both groups make errors probably because they have not yet formed a robust association of the linguistic category and the pitch pattern. Both groups make errors probably because they have not yet formed a robust association of the linguistic category and the pitch pattern.Differences: English-speaking subjects have bidirectional confusion between Tone 2 and 3. Almost no problem with Tone 1 and 4. English-speaking subjects have bidirectional confusion between Tone 2 and 3. Almost no problem with Tone 1 and 4. Cantonese-speaking subjects misidentified Tone 3 as 2, but not so much vice versa. They confuse Tone 1 and 4 sometimes. Cantonese-speaking subjects misidentified Tone 3 as 2, but not so much vice versa. They confuse Tone 1 and 4 sometimes.

25 Explanations for the differences English-speaking learners: English-speaking learners: - Tone 2 and Tone 3 have similar F0 onset and contour (both have rising) - Li & Thompson (1977) found that L1 children learning Chinese have more problems with Tone 2 and 3. - Hume and Johnson (2003) measured the perceptual space between the four Mandarin tones and found that Tone 2 and 3 are closer to each other for both Chinese and English speakers.  The distinction between Tone 2 and 3 is hard.

26 Cantonese-speaking learners: Cantonese-speaking learners:  L1 interference Cantonese tone system (Bauer and Benedict, 1997) and corresponding Mandarin tones Cantonese tone system (Bauer and Benedict, 1997) and corresponding Mandarin tones High level High rising Mid level Mid- low level Mid- low falling Mid- low rising Cantonese55/ Mandarin55/5135

27 Mandarin Chinese Cantonese Tone 1 (55) → variant 55 of high level tone ↑ free variation ↓ Tone 4 (51) → variant 53 of high level tone Mandarin Chinese Cantonese Tone 2 (35) ↘ high rising tone (25 or 35) Tone 3 (214) ↗ Hypothesized L1-L2 tone mapping: Hypothesized L1-L2 tone mapping: (1) Tone 1&4 confusion (1) Tone 1&4 confusion (2) Tone 3 biased as 2

28 For the future … Add a control group of Chinese native speakers Add a control group of Chinese native speakers Increase subjects to minimize individual variation Increase subjects to minimize individual variation Conduct a Mandarin-Cantonese tone mapping experiment Conduct a Mandarin-Cantonese tone mapping experiment

29 References Bauer and Benedict. (1997). Modern Cantonese Phonology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Chen, Q. (1997). Toward a sequential approach for tonal error analysis. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association 32: Gandour, J. T. and Harshman, R. A. (1978). Crosslanguage differences in tone perception: a multidimensional scaling investigation. Language and Speech 21: Hume, E. and Johnson, K. (2003). The impact of partial phonological contrast on speech perception. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: Kiriloff, C. (1969). On the auditory perception of tones in Mandarin. Phonetica 20: 2-4. Li, C. N. and Thompson, S. A. (1977). The acquisition of tone in Mandarin-speaking children. Journal of Child Language 4: Miracle, W. C. (1989). Tone production of American students of Chinese: A preliminary acoustic study. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association 24: Shen, S. X. N. (1989). Toward a register approach in teaching Mandarin tones. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association 24: Stagray, J. R. and Downs, D. (1993). Differential sensitivity for frequency among speakers of a tone and a nontone language. Journal of Chinese Linguistics 21: Sun, S. H. (1998). The development of a lexical tone phonology in American adult learners of standard Mandarin Chinese. University of Hawai‘i Press.

30 Thank you! Comments? Questions?

31 English (mono) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)

32 English (initial) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)

33 English (final) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)

34 Cantonese (mono) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)

35 Cantonese (initial) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)

36 Cantonese (final) response responsetarget (level 55) (rising 35) (dipping 214) (falling 51)


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