ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5pSP13. Perceptual assimilation of voiceless Mandarin fricatives and affricates by American English speakers.

Xiange Ling

Dept. of Psychol., BEH #339, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620

Winifred Strange

Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620

This study investigated how voiceless Mandarin consonants (MC) are assimilated to American English consonants (EC) by monolingual English adult listeners. Nine Mandarin fricatives and affricates that are articulated in middle alveolar, blade-palatal, and back palatal regions were used. Subjects listened to a sequence of Mandarin CV syllables (produced by two native Mandarin speakers) and responded by selecting the most similar English consonants. The main results were: (1) MC's tended to be assimilated to consonant categories with the same place of articulation and manner. However, place of articulation tended to take priority over manner class. (2) When there was not an identical place of articulation, categorization was influenced by the vowel context and the results were more variable. Further, the MC tended to be categorized to an adjacent place of articulation within the same manner class. (3) Voiceless aspirated MC's were almost always assimilated to voiceless EC categories, while voiceless unaspirated MC's were assimilated to voiced EC categories. Graphs of EC categorization frequencies for each MC will be presented. [Work supported by NIDCD.]