4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

The Perception of Morae in Long Vowels Comparison Among Japanese, Korean and English Speakers

Ryoji Baba (1), Kaori Omuro (1), Hiromitsu Miyazono (1), Tsuyoshi Usagawa (2), Masahiko Higuchi (2)

(1) Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Japan; (2) Kumamoto University, Japan

There are three kinds of Tokushuhaku (the specific timing morae) in the Japanese language such as the moraic nasal, the non-nasal consonant and the long vowel. Even though Japanese native speakers can perceive them perfectly, it is difficult for Japanese learners from abroad to perceive and produce them. To make it more efficient for Japanese learners to acquire them, we need to investigate how Japanese native speakers perceive Tokushuhaku. This study examines the perception of a mora or morae of Japanese language specifically in the long vowel. Previous researchers (1)Hiroya Fujisaki, Miyoko Sugito) have assumed that duration contrasts alone are involved in perception. However we hypothesize that the accentual change in the midst of a long vowel would mark the boundary between the morae and would affect the perception of morae by native speakers of standard Japanese. Based on the hypothesis three kinds of perception tests with computer-edited sound stimuli were given to native Japanese, Korean and English speakers. The results of these tests suggest that native Japanese speakers count the number of morae not only by the duration of vowels, but also by the accentual change which indicates the boundary between morae. On the other hand, nonnative speakers count the number of morae only by the duration of vowels.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Baba, Ryoji / Omuro, Kaori / Miyazono, Hiromitsu / Usagawa, Tsuyoshi / Higuchi, Masahiko (1996): "The perception of morae in long vowels comparison among Japanese, Korean and English speakers", In ICSLP-1996, 2474-2477.