Perception and production of Cantonese tones by South Asians in Hong Kong

Peggy Mok, Crystal Lee, Alan Yu


This study investigates the perception and production of Hong Kong Cantonese tones by South Asians residing in Hong Kong. Forty-three South Asian participants and twenty-six ethnic Chinese Hong Kong Cantonese speakers completed an AX discrimination task and a picture naming task. A series of regression analyses showed that, relative to the Chinese cohort, the South Asian cohort showed significant neutralization of tonal contrasts in production, as well as poorer tonal discrimination accuracy, especially among participants whose dominant language is Punjabi, which also has contrastive tones in its phonology. These findings are consistent with predictions of existing models of L2 phonetic acquisition, which argue that the hardest elements in L2 phonology for learners are those bearing similar features from their L1, rather than those that are different.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-93

Cite as: Mok, P., Lee, C., Yu, A. (2018) Perception and production of Cantonese tones by South Asians in Hong Kong. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 458-462, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-93.


@inproceedings{Mok2018,
  author={Peggy Mok and Crystal Lee and Alan Yu},
  title={Perception and production of Cantonese tones by South Asians in Hong Kong},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={458--462},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-93},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-93}
}