Third International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 94)

Yokohama, Japan
September 18-22, 1994

How do the French perceive tonal accent in Japanese? Experimental evidence

Yukihiro Nishinuma

CNRS URA261 Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France

We studied how French subjects learning Japanese perceive tonal accent under different experimental conditions. The perceptual experiment included 3 tests using 3-, 4-, and 5-syllable words with different tonal accents. In Test 1, the stimuli were presented in isolation, in Test 2, words were extracted from short sentences, and in Test 3, the target stimuli were embedded in a carrier sentence with 4 syllables preceding and following the target word. Ten French students participated were asked to detect the "high-low" tone change in the words. The average score was 66% for Test 1, 49% for Test 2, and 45% for Test 3. Japanese subjects obtained an average score of 86%. The results suggest that the perception of tonal accent is language-dependent.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Nishinuma, Yukihiro (1994): "How do the French perceive tonal accent in Japanese? experimental evidence", In ICSLP-1994, 1739-1742.