Perception of L2 Mandarin tones by L1Swedish learners at three proficiency levels

Yasuko Nagano-Madsen, Xinzheng Wan


Cross-linguistic studies on the perception of Mandarin tones are many. However, studies conducted from an L2 acquisition perspective with reference to proficiency levels are still limited. Likewise, how the learners’ whose L1 prosody has lexical pitch-accents such as Swedish and Japanese perceive Mandarin tones is still largely an understudied area of research. In this study, perception of Mandarin tones in mono- and di-syllabic words by Swedish learners of Chinese at three proficiency levels was examined. Results for the monosyllabic stimuli showed that the most difficult tone to perceive was T2 while the easiest to perceive was T3. These results were consistent across the three levels of proficiency. In contrast, the results for the di-syllabic words showed more complex perceptual patterns, i.e. the entire perceptual patters differed at each proficiency level as ‘interlanguage’. One can speak of a typical perceptual pattern for the beginner level and intermediate level. The results of the present study are compared with those from the previous studies on the acquisition of L2 Japanese prosody by L1 Swedish learners. It also discusses about how L1 prosodic transfer takes place at different levels of proficiency in perceiving Mandarin tones.


DOI: 10.21437/LTLT.2016-4

Cite as

Nagano-Madsen, Y., Wan, X. (2016) Perception of L2 Mandarin tones by L1Swedish learners at three proficiency levels. Proc. Language Teaching, Learning and Technology, 23-28.

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Nagano-Madsen+2016,
author={Yasuko Nagano-Madsen and Xinzheng Wan},
title={Perception of L2 Mandarin tones by L1Swedish learners at three proficiency levels},
year=2016,
booktitle={Language Teaching, Learning and Technology},
doi={10.21437/LTLT.2016-4},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/LTLT.2016-4},
pages={23--28}
}