Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Foreign Accent of Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese - Perceptual Evaluation of Modified and Unmodified Speech

Masahiko Komatsu (1), Fátima Tiemi Kimoto (1,2)

(1) Department of Communication Disorders, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Japan
(2) Training Program for Japanese Descendants, Japan International Cooperation Agency

This paper examines the foreign accent in Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese. In the first experiment, Japanese speech samples of Japanese-descent Brazilians were compared to those of native Japanese speakers, as evaluated by Japanese, and in the second experiment, Portuguese speech samples of native Japanese speakers were compared to those of Japanesedescent Brazilians, as evaluated by Brazilians. In both experiments, detection of a foreign accent was more difficult in the stimulus with its spectral properties removed (representing prosodic features) than in the stimulus with its F0 flattened (representing segmental features), and was easiest in unmodified speech. Correlation between perception scores for modified and unmodified speech was found. Acoustic analysis suggested that speakers may bring their F0 characteristics of L1 into L2 speech, and showed that speaking rate was correlated with the perception scores. It concludes that foreign accents in both languages share some properties but also have some differences, possibly due to language differences, speakers’ proficiencies, and listeners’ backgrounds.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Komatsu, Masahiko / Kimoto, Fátima Tiemi (2008): "Foreign accent of brazilian portuguese and Japanese - perceptual evaluation of modified and unmodified speech", In SP-2008, 767-770.