Perceptual assimilation of non-native prosodic cues: Cross-linguistic effects of lexical F0 learning

Seth Wiener, Seth Goss


This study examines how first (L1) and second language (L2) experience with lexical fundamental frequency (F0) variations affect the perception of Japanese pitch accent. Japanese-L1 speakers and English-L1 speakers performed an ABX discrimination task and a 3-alternative-forced-choice (3-AFC) categorization task. Results support previous findings on non-native perception: Japanese-L1 speakers’ were more accurate at both tasks than English-L1 speakers. The English-L1 group then completed a 15-week university level introductory Mandarin Chinese language course in which learners were taught the lexical role of F0, i.e., tone. At the end of their L2 language training, the English-L1 group was retested using the same ABX and 3-AFC tasks. Participants’ accuracy equaled that of Japanese-L1 listeners in both tasks. Analyses of listeners’ sensitivity (d') revealed a facilitatory effect from Mandarin tone in the ABX task but not in the 3-AFC task. These results suggest that learning lexical F0 variations in an L2 can influence the perception of an additional non-native language that utilizes lexical F0 cues (i.e., at the phonological level) as well as the perception of prosodic categories that share overlapping F0 contours (i.e., at the phonetic level). These findings are compatible with models of perceptual assimilation of suprasegmentals.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-191

Cite as: Wiener, S., Goss, S. (2018) Perceptual assimilation of non-native prosodic cues: Cross-linguistic effects of lexical F0 learning. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 947-951, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-191.


@inproceedings{Wiener2018,
  author={Seth Wiener and Seth Goss},
  title={Perceptual assimilation of non-native prosodic cues: Cross-linguistic effects of lexical F0 learning},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={947--951},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-191},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-191}
}