A comparison of training effects on non-native tone sandhi production between American English and Cantonese speakers

Bei Li, Yike Yang, Si Chen, Yunjuan He

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)AbstractAcademic researchpeer-review


Previous studies suggest that productions of Mandarin tone sandhi by both American English speakers and Cantonese speakers were perceived more native-like after a laboratory perceptual training, whereas little is known about the effects of tonal or non-tonal backgrounds. Ten Cantonese-speaking trainees and ten American English-speaking trainees matched in age and Mandarin proficiency were recruited to the pre- and post-training recording sessions. Elicited with audio and visual stimuli, participants naturally produced disyllabic real and wug words where the two Mandarin tone sandhi rules (T3 + T1/T2/T4 sandhi and T3 + T3 sandhi rules) should be applied. In total, 7680 sandhi syllables obtained from two sessions were perceptually evaluated by two phonetically trained Mandarin-speaking raters on a 101-point scale. Statistical results indicated that native tonal/non-tonal backgrounds influence Mandarin learners’ improvement in the two sandhi rules differently. The Cantonese trainees outperformed the English trainees in the sandhi of T3 + T1/T2/T4 before training, and the two groups had statistically comparable performance after training, although both groups exhibited significant improvement. For the sandhi in T3 + T3, improvement occurred for the Cantonese trainees while not for the American trainees after training, suggesting that the successful learning of phonological T3 sandhi rule may require a tonal background.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019
EventThe 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Louisville, United States
Duration: 14 May 2019 → …


ConferenceThe 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period14/05/19 → …

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