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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2031/4733

Title: A perceptual analysis of the apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin
Other Titles: Beijing hua she jian yuan yin de gan zhi yan jiu
北京話舌尖元音的感知研究
Authors: Cheung, Yuk Man (張玉敏)
Department: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Degree: Master of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Mandarin dialects -- China -- Beijing -- Phonetics
Notes: vi, 79 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Thesis (M.Phil.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2004
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 74-79)
CityU Call Number: PL1900.P44 C478 2004
Type: Thesis
Abstract: The dissertation is a perceptual analysis of the two apical vowels [I ] and [I] in Beijing Mandarin. The two target vowels in Beijing Mandarin differ in articulation, acoustics and phonotactics. Little work has been done on the perceptual characteristics of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin. In this study, first, a computerized audio editor and synthesizer were used to generate the stimuli and construct the perceptual tests. Second, vowel continua between [ך ] and [I] were included to establish categorical boundaries of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin. Third, responses were obtained from a large subject pool in different sex groups. The goals of the thesis are (1) to investigate the perceptual characteristics of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin; (2) to determine whether the perception of the two apical vowels is categorical or continuous based on the results of identification and discrimination tests in the dissertation; and (3) to compare the perceptual performances of male and female subjects in the perceptual tests. In the perceptual tests, the influences of (a) pattern of the first two resonance frequencies, (b) co-varying second resonance frequency with the varying third resonance frequency, and (c) the third resonance frequency were investigated. In addition, to determine whether the perception of the two apical vowels is either categorical or continuous, the results of the present study are compared to those of the past studies investigating the extreme categorical perception as in the case of stop consonants and the continuous perception as in the case of vowels. To achieve the goals, one preliminary identification tests and two perceptual tests including identification and discrimination tests were carried out in the dissertation. Preliminary identification tests were performed to assess the effects of the syllable-initial fricative and the first three resonance frequencies in the perception of the syllables [sך] and [ sl] in Beijing Mandarin. Results show that, for synthetic syllables with a syllable-initial alveolar fricative [s], there is a higher percentage of syllables being identified as [sך] , regardless of the pattern of the first two resonance frequencies and the value of the third resonance frequency of the vowel stimuli. In comparison, for synthetic syllables with a postalveolar fricative [g], there is a great drop in the percentage of [sl ] identification. It is obvious that the percentages of identification responses for the test syllables are strongly influenced by the syllable-initial obstruent that preceded the vowel stimuli. In the perceptual tests focusing on the perceptual characteristics of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin, noise was used as the syllable-initial consonant to eliminate the influence of the homorganic syllable-initial obstruent that obligatorily preceded the vowel. Identification tests and discrimination tests were conducted to examine specifically the effect of the resonance frequencies, i.e. F1F2 pattern, F2 and F3, on the perception of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin. Results show that (1) the value of third resonance frequency is a potent cue for differentiating between the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin, (2) the value of second resonance frequency is an effective cue for stimuli that are close to the categorical boundary in the identification tests, (3) the co-varying second resonance frequency causes an improvement in the percentage of correct discrimination for all the ABX triads along the vowel continuum, (4) the pattern of the first two resonance frequencies based on [I ] or [I], constitutes a favorable condition for the identification of [I ] or [I], respectively, (5) the perception of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin is neither categorical nor continuous, but somewhere in between the two, indicating by the results of identification and discrimination tests and (6) based on data from a large subjects pool consisted of evenly distributed male and female subjects, the subject performances in the identification and discrimination tests for male and female listeners look alike. There is no significant difference in performance between the two sex groups. It seems that the great male-female difference in resonance frequencies in acoustics does not contribute an effect on the perception of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin. A Perceptual Analysis of the Apical Vowels in Beijing Mandarin
Online Catalog Link: http://lib.cityu.edu.hk/record=b1871496
Appears in Collections:CTL - Master of Philosophy

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