Second Language Studies: Acquisition, Learning, Education and Technology

Tokyo, Japan
September 22-24, 2010

Lexical Tones Learning with Automatic Music Composition System Considering Prosody of Mandarin Chinese

Siwei Qin, Satoru Fukayama, Takuya Nishimoto, Shigeki Sagayama

Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, Japan

Recent research has found that there is an overlap in the processing of music and speech in certain aspects. This research focuses on the relationship between the pitch of tones in language and the melody of songs. We present an automatic music composition system based on the prosody rules of Mandarin and we hypothesize that songs generated with our proposed system can help non-native Mandarin speakers to learn the tones of Mandarin Chinese more easily. To verify this hypothesis, twelve non-Chinese speakers from Japan were asked to identify and pronounce the Mandarin sentence they heard in the experiments with three different learning methods. The result shows that participants got higher accuracies of performances in tone3 with the teaching method of “speech + music” and the teaching method of “music only” is not more effective than “speech only” in some particular tones.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Qin, Siwei / Fukayama, Satoru / Nishimoto, Takuya / Sagayama, Shigeki (2010): "Lexical tones learning with automatic music composition system considering prosody of Mandarin Chinese", In L2WS-2010, paper O4-2.