The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Tonal Variants in the Bilingual Mental Lexicon

Junru Wu, Yiya Chen

Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, The Netherlands

Bilinguals of Jinan Mandarin and Standard Chinese (SC) produce different tonal variants of the same Jinan word. These words typically share the same segmental composition as their SC counterparts. Among the tonal variants, usually only one variant is identical to the tonal contour of the SC counterpart (variant_id). The word-wise probability of variant_id varies between 0 and 1. Naming latency data were elicited for 400 Jinan words from 42 speakers to test how speakers of Jinan store the tonal variants, in particular, whether those who produce the variant_id might also store the tonally non identical variant (variant_ni) which they do not produce. We hypothesize that if a speaker who produces the variant_id does not store the unproduced variant_ni, the naming latency should only depend on the speaker’s choice of variant_id (yes/ no) and not on the word-wise probability of variant_id. On the other hand, if a speaker who produces the variant_id does store the unproduced variant_ni, the naming latency should depend on the word-wise probability of the speaker’s chosen variant. Our results provide support to the latter storage account.

Index Terms: tone, production, metal lexicon

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wu, Junru / Chen, Yiya (2014): "Tonal variants in the bilingual mental lexicon", In TAL-2014, 152-155.