Phonological Awareness of French Rising Contours in Japanese Learners

Rachel Albar, Hiyon Yoo

We investigate Japanese learners’ ability to produce and understand the French continuative rising contour. In French, rising contours can be linked to syntactic, metrical, interactional and phrasing functions, while in Japanese, prosodic boundaries are marked with a default low tone (L%).

Our main hypothesis is that Japanese learners’ proficiency is linked to their phonological awareness of rising contours in French. We expect that advanced learners will be able to correctly produce rising contours in internal AP and IP positions, and even distinguish between subtle differences in rising contours.

We present the results from two different experiments. To test learners’ ability to produce rising contours, subjects were asked to naturally reproduce utterances containing violations in certain prosodic contours. Results show that, although the task remains difficult, learners were able to correct non-rising contours to varying degrees. We then conducted a sentence completion task where subjects listened to the beginning of a statement and chose the adequate sequence of words that followed what they had heard. Results show that Japanese learners, no matter their proficiency, are not able to distinguish the different types of rising contours that are dependent on different syntactic boundaries.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2856

Cite as: Albar, R., Yoo, H. (2019) Phonological Awareness of French Rising Contours in Japanese Learners. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 2548-2552, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2856.

  author={Rachel Albar and Hiyon Yoo},
  title={{Phonological Awareness of French Rising Contours in Japanese Learners}},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},