13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

The Production and Perception of Estonian Quantity Degrees by Native and Non-native Speakers

Lya Meister, Einar Meister

Laboratory of Phonetics and Speech Technology, Institute of Cybernetics at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

The paper studies the production and perception of Estonian quantity oppositions by native Estonians (L1 subjects) and non-native speakers with Russian-language background (L2 subjects). Estonian quantity system involves three contrastive prosodic patterns referred to as short (Q1), long (Q2) and overlong (Q3) quantity degrees. These phonological contrasts are manifested by a complex interaction of durational and tonal cues in a disyllabic foot. For L2 subjects the Estonian quantity contrasts constitute a difficult issue since there are no similar patterns in Russian to rely on.
   The production of quantity contrasts was examined in two-syllable CVCV-words read in sentence context; for the perception experiments a stimulus set involving isolated CVCV-words with varying duration of vowels in both syllables and varying F0 contour was created. Ten L1 and ten L2 subjects participated in both the reading of test sentences and the perception experiment.
   The results showed that L2 subjects were successful in distinguishing Q1 and Q2 patterns in production and perception, but failed in distinguishing Q2 and Q3 patterns in both tasks.

Index Terms: L2 speech, quantity degrees, categorical perception, category boundary, Estonian, Russian

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Meister, Lya / Meister, Einar (2012): "The production and perception of Estonian quantity degrees by native and non-native speakers", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 887-890.