5aSC16. Production of accentual prominence patterns in English by Mandarin Chinese speakers.

Session: Friday Morning, December 6


Author: Julia Tevis McGory
Location: Dept. of Speech and Hearing Sci., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43210-1002


This study investigated productions of accentual prominence patterns in English by native English speakers (ENG) and by two groups of Mandarin Chinese speakers differing in amounts of English language experience, M1 (less-experienced) and M2 (more-experienced). Because the falling intonation patterns of declarative English sentences are acoustically similar to high-falling tone 4 in Mandarin, and low-rising intonation patterns of interrogatives are similar to low tone 3, transfer of these tonal constructs by Mandarin speakers into productions of English intonation patterns is expected. The stress-pair, memorizes/memorial was produced with three levels of accentual prominence, from most prominent to completely unaccented, in declarative and interrogative contexts. Comparisons of f0, duration, and intensity levels between the unstressed and stressed first and second target syllables were made. Preliminary results suggest that M1 use acoustic characteristics of prominence from their native language while M2 perform more like ENG. M2 and ENG subjects produced progressively greater changes in f0, duration, and intensity within three levels of accent. In M1 productions, similar rises in f0, durations and intensities were evident in the stressed syllable of target words regardless of accent level and type indicating that transfer of Mandarin prosodic constructs occurs in the early stages of language acquisition.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996