Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Tone Assignment in Second Language Prosodic Learning

Charles C. Chen Jr., Ching-Pong Au

Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong

In this study we observe the tone assignment patterns in Hong Kong Cantonese speakers’ second languages. Based on an examination of new data and a review of previous studies, we verify some tone assignment regularities found in Cantonese speakers’ second language pronunciations. We suggest that in the interlanguage phonological system of Cantonese speaker, the assignment of tones within a multi-syllabic word tend to follow the patterns /22-55/, /22-55-11/, /55-11/ or their variant forms, depending on the position of syllables with /55/ assigned. The generalization is also applicable to phrases, clauses and sentences.

In order to investigate whether these patterns are found when Cantonese speakers learn non-tonal languages in general, we examine three non-tonal languages, Japanese, Italian and Korean, pronounced by Hong Kong Cantonese native speakers who have no experience in learning these languages. The data support the generalization we propose.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  C. Chen Jr., Charles / Au, Ching-Pong (2004): "Tone assignment in second language prosodic learning", In SP-2004, 91-94.