The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Effect of Orthography on L2 Production of Mandarin Tones

Jingwen Li, Robert Bo Xu, Peggy Mok

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

L2 production of tones has been widely discussed; however, the role of orthography in the learning process has received little attention. Previous studies suggested that the opaque orthography of Chinese characters plays an important role in both L2 production and perception. The present study further investigates the role of different orthographies (Pinyin vs. Chinese characters) in L2 production of Mandarin tones. Monosyllabic and disyllabic words were used as the test materials. The subjects were divided into two groups: high proficiency and low proficiency. The results showed that among the subjects of low language proficiency, Chinese character helps with L2 tone production; while among the subjects of high language proficiency, the effects of Chinese character and pinyin are comparable in L2 tone production. T2 and T3 have a very high chance to be confused across all the subjects, regardless of orthographies.

Index Terms: orthography; L2 tone production; Mandarin; Cantonese

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Li, Jingwen / Xu, Robert Bo / Mok, Peggy (2014): "Effect of orthography on L2 production of Mandarin tones", In TAL-2014, 147-151.