On Rhythm, Prosodic Grouping, and Declination Pattern of Taiwan Mandarin Learners of English

Sally Chen, Janice Fon


In this study, rhythmic measures, prosodic grouping, and extent of declination were investigated for native and nonnative English. L2 data were obtained from a standardized English oral test in Taiwan. Those who obtained the highest score were categorized as high proficiency (HL2), and those who barely passed low proficiency (LL2). Native speakers of English and Mandarin were also recruited to record the same/translated materials to serve as references. Results showed that L2 speakers assigned more accents and more intonational phrases (IPs) as compared to their native counterparts. Placement of IP boundaries was both type- and group-dependent. Speakers were in general unanimous in placing prosodic boundaries when they encounter disjunctures explicitly marked by punctuation marks. However, with disjunctures not explicitly marked, only the HL2 speakers consistently placed IP boundaries as the natives, and unlike native preference for falling contours, both HL2 and LL2 speakers preferred level tones instead. Finally, the extent of declination tended to be negatively correlated with English proficiency, and this did not come from negative L1 transfer. Considering all the data at hand, we proposed that prosodic grouping was easier to acquire, while native-like rhythmic and declination patterns were more difficult to learn.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-176

Cite as: Chen, S., Fon, J. (2020) On Rhythm, Prosodic Grouping, and Declination Pattern of Taiwan Mandarin Learners of English. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 862-866, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-176.


@inproceedings{Chen2020,
  author={Sally Chen and Janice Fon},
  title={{On Rhythm, Prosodic Grouping, and Declination Pattern of Taiwan Mandarin Learners of English}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={862--866},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-176},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-176}
}