Development of categorical speech perception in Mandarin-speaking children and adolescents

Yan Feng, Gang Peng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Although children develop categorical speech perception at a very young age, the maturation process remains unclear. A cross-sectional study in Mandarin-speaking 4-, 6-, and 10-year-old children, 14-year-old adolescents, and adults (n = 104, 56 males, all Asians from mainland China) was conducted to investigate the development of categorical perception of four Mandarin phonemic contrasts: lexical tone contrast Tone 1-2, vowel contrast /u/−/i/, consonant aspiration contrast /p/−/ph/, and consonant formant transition contrast /p/−/t/. The results indicated that different types of phonemic contrasts, and even the identification and discrimination of the same phonemic contrast, matured asynchronously. The observation that tone and vowel perception are achieved earlier than consonant perception supports the phonological saliency hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-43
Number of pages16
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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