International Journal of Computational Linguistics & Chinese Language Processing                                   []
                                                                                          Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2013


Title:
Implicit Priming Effects in Chinese Word Recall: The Role of Orthography and Tones in the Mental Lexicon

Author:
Nian Liu

Abstract:
This paper explores the relative contributions made by orthography, syllabic segment, and lexical tone in the word recognition and retrieval process. It also challenges recent assumptions regarding the role of orthography and tones in mental lexicon architecture. Using an implicit priming paradigm, a word recognition experiment was conducted with native speakers of two tonal languages, Chinese and Vietnamese, that use a logographic orthography and a phonetically-based orthography, respectively. Contradicting prior findings, response time differences indicate that orthography plays a crucial role in the word recognition process, a finding that has implications for Chinese language teaching.

Keywords: Orthography, Tones, Word Recall, Chinese Teaching


Title:
Understanding Mandarin Prosody: Tonal and Contextual Variations in Spontaneous Conversation

Author:
Li-chiung Yang, and Richard Esposito

Abstract:
Tonal identity and tonal variation in Mandarin have been the focus of intensive research that has long sought to bring out the underlying causes of variations in realized pitch values. Included among the variables studied in tonal variation are syntactic, contextual, emotional, and interactional influences. In the current study, we present results of our comparative research into tonal pitch variation in read speech and spontaneous Mandarin conversations. We acoustically and quantitatively characterize differences in the degree of pitch variability of these two modes of speech, and we present our results on tonal variability, as well as the influence of tone sequencing, syllable amplitude, and contextual factors on realized tonal shape. We show that, although tones are manifested in great diversity of pitch in spontaneous speech, there is a consistency of pitch shape that is dependent on tonal lexical identity.

Keywords:
Tone, Prosody, Mandarin, Tonal Variability, Spontaneous Speech


Title:
Acoustic Correlates of Contrastive Stress in Compound Words versus Verbal Phrase in Mandarin Chinese

Author:
Weilin Shen, Jacqueline Vaissière, and Frédéric Isel

Abstract:
Duanmu (2000) proposed that tonal languages, such as Chinese, follow the same Compound and Nuclear Stress Rules (Chomsky & Halle, 1968) for phrasal stress as English. This study investigates the acoustic correlates of contrastive stress between compound words and verbal phrases in Mandarin Chinese. We focused on the durational, fundamental frequency, and intensity correlates of stress within minimal pair MN modifier-head compounds and VO verb-object phrases. Our results demonstrated that (1) the final syllable was more lengthened in [VO] than in [MN] and that (2) the F0 range was larger in [VO] than in [MN]. Moreover, the duration of the pause between the two syllables seems to play a role in distinguishing between [MN] and [VO]. In contrast, we showed that intensity contributed less to this distinction. Our results confirmed the right stress pattern in [VO]; however, we failed to find the lexical stress on the Left syllable we had expected, at least with the speakers we examined. Taken together, the present acoustic study lends support to the hypothesis that principles of stress upward of word level are universal through different languages.

Keywords:
Morpholexical Ambiguity, Compounding, Compound versus Nuclear Stress, Acoustic Features.


Title:
Non-segmental Cues for Syllable Perception: the Role of Local Tonal f0 and Global Speech Rate in Syllabification

Author:
Iris Chuoying Ouyang

Abstract:
This study is aimed at a better understanding of the perception of syllables. As the traditional view seems to associate syllable perception with segmental cues that result from local (i.e. present only within or adjacent to the syllable) supralaryngeal events, we are particularly interested in whether non-segmental and non-local laryngeal information contribute to syllable perception as well. Existing works on Indo-European languages show that local stress patterns and global (i.e. non-local) speech rates provide perceptual cues to words and phonemes. While we believe that the effects of the global speech rate hold across languages, based on the long-developed notion of language-specific perception, we expect that lexical tones, rather than stress patterns, serve as an important local non-segmental cue in tonal languages. We conducted a perception study on Mandarin to investigate whether tonal f0 patterns and speech rates interfere with spectral information in determining the number of syllables in an utterance. F0 contours were generated using the qTA model (Prom-on, Xu & Thipakorn, 2009). Our results show that the perceptual number of syllables depends on the perception of tonal f0 patterns and speech rates to a substantial extent. Combining our findings with prior claims (Olsberg, Xu & Green, 2007), it appears that a variety of cues V segments, lexical tones, and speech rate V compete in perceiving Mandarin syllables. In relating this study to the existing works on word segmentation, lexical access, and phoneme identification, we find that the language comprehension system integrates local with global, supralaryngeal with laryngeal information, in perceiving linguistic units V not only words and phonemes, but also syllables.

Keywords:
Cue Integration, Syllable Perception, Tone Perception, Speech Rate, Mandarin Chinese


Title:
Tones of Reduced T1-T4 Mandarin Disyllables

Author:
Shu-Chuan Tseng, Alexander Soemer, and Tzu-Lun Lee

Abstract:
The lexical meaning of Chinese words is determined by syllables and lexical tones. Phonologically, there are four full tones. Empirically, however, it remains a puzzle how tones are recognized when they are reduced in natural speech. This article presents three studies on tones of reduced disyllables: (1) a corpus study on disyllabic reduction, (2) two tone categorical identification experiments on fully pronounced and reduced disyllables, and (3) an analysis of word identification responses of two disyllables. Utilizing a segment-aligned corpus, disyllables were classified by ear into four degrees of contraction (from none to full), i.e., where a disyllable is gradiently reduced towards one syllable. The results suggested that the onset of the second syllable was most likely to be shortened or deleted. For studying the lexical effect of tones, a Ganong-style word bias experiment was conducted on T1-T4 continua of three T1-T4 disyllables. Results of the fully pronounced stimuli confirmed that the lexical status of the disyllables affected the tone classification of F0 contours along a continuum from T1 to T4, showing distinct differences of tone identification in real words and nonwords. Then, this effect disappeared when the onset of the second syllable was removed to simulate a partly reduced disyllable. Insufficient segmental information seemed to deactivate the word-nonword contrast, i.e. lexical status seemed to override any acoustic information available. Tones tended to be recognized as those from a real word throughout the continua. Finally, responses to two T1-T4 disyllables from the identification experiment done by Tseng & Lee (2010) were re-analyzed. The results suggested that reduction degree, F0 shapes, word unit type, and exposure frequency seemed to play a role in the recognition of words and tones.

Keywords:
Taiwan Mandarin, Disyllabic Words, Tone Perception, Reduced Speech.


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