Zhen Qin is presenting a poster featuring the work he did for his minor paper with Dr. Allard Jongman at the KU Graduate Research Competition on April 9th.
Zhen Qin, Linguistics
DOES SECOND LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE MODULATE PERCEPTION OF TONES IN A THIRD LANGUAGE?
It’s unclear what roles native language (L1) and second language (L2) play in perception of lexical tones in a third language (L3). Listeners with different language backgrounds use different fundamental frequency (F0) cues in tone perception. While English listeners use F0 height, Mandarin listeners rely more on F0 direction. The present study addresses whether the knowledge of Mandarin, particularly as an L2, will result in speakers reliance on F0 direction in their perception of L3 (Cantonese) tones. While 15 English-speaking L2 learners of Mandarin constituted the target group, 15 English monolinguals and 15 native Mandarin speakers, with no background in other tonal languages, were included as control groups. In the experiment, all groups discriminated Cantonese tones either by distinguishing a contour tone from a level tone (F0 direction pair) or a level tone from another level tone (F0 height pair). The results showed that L2 learners patterned differently from both control groups by using F0 direction as well as F0 height under the influence of L1 and L2 experience. The acoustics of the tones also affected all listeners' discrimination. When L2 and L3 are similar in terms of the lexical tones, L2 experience modulates the perception of L3 tones.
Also, the Keynote Address for the Graduate Student Appreciation Week is this Friday, April 10, 2:30-4:00 pm in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro will present practical advice on developing career options for graduate students, her area of expertise as Associate Director at the University of Pennsylvania Career Services and the Founder of Beyond the Tenure Track.