The Perception of Mandarin Tones by Thai and Indonesian Speakers

Raymond Wen-Chun Chow, Yi Liu, Jing-Hong Ning


This study makes use of diverse acoustic features to comprehensively examine the effects of native language (L1) experience, tonal context, segmental context (consonant aspiration type and vowel height), and the intrinsic phonetic similarity on the perception of Mandarin tones by Thai and Indonesian speakers. Two perception tasks which are four-alternative forced-choice identification tests for stimuli presented in isolation and carrier sentences were conducted. Results showed that Thai listeners performed significantly better than Indonesian counterparts in both identification tests and the assertion of tonal language speakers having advantages over the non-tonal L1 speakers in acquiring a new tonal language was supported in this study. However, both groups share some similar error patterns which might be due to the intrinsic phonetic similarity between the target tones. The effects of segmental context appeared to be not significant, while the tonal context was found to exert contrary effects on Thai and Indonesian listeners.


 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-40

Cite as: Chow, R.W., Liu, Y., Ning, J. (2018) The Perception of Mandarin Tones by Thai and Indonesian Speakers. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 197-201, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-40.


@inproceedings{Chow2018,
  author={ Raymond Wen-Chun Chow and Yi Liu and Jing-Hong Ning},
  title={ The Perception of Mandarin Tones by Thai and Indonesian Speakers},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},
  pages={197--201},
  doi={10.21437/TAL.2018-40},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2018-40}
}