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Title: An acoustic analysis of Mandarin sibilants produced by Cantonese speakers
Authors: Wong, Cheuk Kin (黃卓健)
Department: Department of Linguistics and Translation
Issue Date: 2015
Course: LT4235 Project
Programme: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) In Linguistics and Language Technology
Supervisor: Dr. Lee, Wai Sum Vanti
Subjects: Chinese language -- Consonants.
Citation: Wong, C. K. (2015). An acoustic analysis of Mandarin sibilants produced by Cantonese speakers (Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS)). Retrieved from City University of Hong Kong, CityU Institutional Repository.
Abstract: This study investigates the production of the three sets of sibilants in Mandarin, i.e. the denti-alveolar [ʦ, ʦʰ, s], post-alveolar (or retroflex) [tʂ, tʂʰ, ʂ], and alveolo-palatal [ʨ, ʨʰ, ɕ], produced by four university students, 2 male and 2 female, in Hong Kong whose native language is Cantonese. Acoustic analysis of the test sibilants from the subjects was performed for measurements of the frequency values for the noise peak and noise range, the two major acoustic properties for distinction among the sibilants in different place categories. In comparison of the data from a native speaker of Mandarin, some general patterns of the Mandarin sibilant production are generalized for the Cantonese subjects are as follows. The Cantonese subjects basically have not mastered the distinction of the three sets of Mandarin sibilants. The denti-alveolar sibilants [ʦ, ʦʰ, s] are most frequently mispronounced; and both the denti-alveolar [ʦ, ʦʰ, s] and alveolo-palatal [ʨ, ʨʰ, ɕ] sibilants are inconsistently mixed up with the other sibilant equivalents. The production of the retroflex sibilants [tʂ, tʂʰ, ʂ] is the best, and this set of sibilants can be clearly differentiated from the other two sets of sibilants in most cases. The patterns of errors in the production of Mandarin sibilants for the Cantonese subjects are similar to those for the Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese subjects reported in Chung and Si (2009). The findings of this study contribute to our deeper understanding towards the difficulties in the production of Mandarin sibilants by Cantonese learners, paving the way for Mandarin teaching or further investigation in L2 Mandarin acquisition.
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