The effect of lexical tones on voice onset time in L2 Mandarin production by English speakers

Chiu-Ching Tseng


This study investigates the effect of lexical tones on VOT length for word-initial aspirated stops (i.e., /pha/, /tha/, and /kha/) in L2 Mandarin production. Fifteen native English speakers who had studied Mandarin at George Mason University (GMU) and eight native Mandarin speakers were recruited. Results show that VOT values were significantly affected by tones in both groups. The results also show that these L2 learners used non-L1 VOT (i.e., 58~80 ms [1] vs. 88~93ms) for L2 production. Although their VOTs were longer than their L1 VOTs, they were shorter than the native Mandarin VOTs (90.78ms vs. 107.70ms). This may imply the process of L2 acquisition and that these learners are approaching native Mandarin like VOT.


 DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2018-22

Cite as: Tseng, C. (2018) The effect of lexical tones on voice onset time in L2 Mandarin production by English speakers. Proc. ISAPh 2018 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics, 120-125, DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2018-22.


@inproceedings{Tseng2018,
  author={Chiu-Ching Tseng},
  title={{The effect of lexical tones on voice onset time in L2 Mandarin production by English speakers}},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. ISAPh 2018 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics},
  pages={120--125},
  doi={10.21437/ISAPh.2018-22},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/ISAPh.2018-22}
}