SLaTE 2015 - Workshop on Speech and Language Technology in Education

Leipzig, Germany
September 4-5, 2015

Declarative and Interrogative Mandarin Intonation by Native Speakers and Cantonese L2 Learners

Wentao Gu, Lei Liu

Nanjing Normal University, China

This study compared sentence intonation of L1 Mandarin by native speakers and L2 Mandarin by Cantonese learners, with both acoustic analysis and perceptual experiment. Three types of sentences (i.e., statement, intonation question, and particle question) ending with different tones and in different lengths were investigated. The perceptual experiment showed that declarative intonation in L2 speech was better identified than in L1 speech, which could be explained by the more prominent F0 declination in L2 speech. In contrast, interrogative intonation in L2 speech had a lower rate of identification than in L1 speech, and the differences in rate varied with the sentence-final tone. Acoustic analysis showed that global F0 raising for questions was weaker in L2 speech than in L1 speech, especially in longer sentences, while sentence-final F0 raising was relatively well maintained in L2 speech. Perceptual and acoustic studies showed consistent results on L2 intonation errors, which could be explained by the limited language abilities and language transfer effects.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gu, Wentao / Liu, Lei (2015): "Declarative and interrogative Mandarin intonation by native speakers and Cantonese L2 learners", In SLaTE-2015, 41-46.