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Title: Production and perception of Cantonese tones by Mandarin-speaking learners
Authors: Ku, Ka Wai (古嘉惠)
Department: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Issue Date: 2010
Course: CTL4235 Project
Programme: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) In Linguistics and Language Technology
Instructor: Dr. Lee, Wai Sum
Subjects: Cantonese dialects -- Tone.
Abstract: This is a phonetic study of the production and perception of the six contrastive tones, [55, 33, 22, 21, 25, 23], in Cantonese by Mandarin-speaking learners. Three native Mandarin speakers, who have received Cantonese learning for two to three years, participated in both of the production and perception tasks of the study. In the production task, three tokens of each of the test words, [si 55] 思, [si 33] 試, [si 22] 事, [si 21] 時, [si 25] 史 and [si 23] 市, associated with the six Cantonese tones were obtained from the subjects. In the perception task, the subjects were to identify 60 stimuli which consisted of 10 repetitions of each of the six Cantonese test words produced by a native Cantonese speaker. Results show that among the six Cantonese tones, [55, 21, 25] are less difficult than [33, 22, 23] in both of production and perception. This is particularly for Cantonese tone [55] which can be correctly produced and perceived in all cases for all the three subjects. Cantonese tones [21] and [25] also can be correctly produced and perceived in most cases, although [21] cannot be correctly perceived by one subject and [25] cannot be correctly produced also by one subject. As for Cantonese tones [33, 22, 23], they are commonly mis-produced and mis-perceived by the subjects. In general, the subjects have similar performance in the production and perception of Cantonese tones and their performance in L2 (Cantonese) tones is affected by their native or L1 (Mandarin) tones. However, L1 transfer only happens in production rather than in perception.
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