The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

The Effect of Orthography on L2 Perception

Robert Bo Xu, Jingwen Li, Peggy Mok

Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mandarin Chinese has two orthographic systems: Chinese characters and Pinyin. While Pinyin is transparent to Mandarin pronunciation, characters are opaque and seldom relate to sound. This study aims to find out the effect of these two systems on Cantonese listeners who are L2 learners of Mandarin. Native Hong Kong Cantonese speakers participated in word recognition experiments which included a monosyllabic task and a disyllabic task. The results show that Cantonese listeners most often confused Tl and T4, and T2 and T3 in Mandarin. Pinyin and characters have influence on the perception of Cantonese listeners. While Pinyin facilitates the recognition in the monosyllabic task, but characters facilitate the disyllabic task, indicating the two tasks may have involved different processes.

Index Terms: L2 perception, orthography, tone. Mandarin

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Xu, Robert Bo / Li, Jingwen / Mok, Peggy (2014): "The effect of orthography on L2 perception", In TAL-2014, 75-78.