Effects of Segments, Intonation and Rhythm on the Perception of L2 Accentedness and Comprehensibility

Chunsheng Yang, Jing Chu, Si Chen, Yi Xu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


This study examines the effects of segments, intonation and rhythm on the perception of second language (L2) accentedness and comprehensibility by focusing on a tone language, Mandarin Chinese. Fifteen Chinese sentences were manipulated by transferring the segments, intonation and rhythm between native and L2 speakers. 64 Chinese judges listened to the original and the manipulated sentences and were asked to rate the accentedness and comprehensibility of these sentences. Results of the Chinese native judges’ ratings showed that segments contribute more to the perception of L2 accentedness and comprehensibility than intonation and rhythm, and that intonation contributed more to L2 perception than rhythm. It was also found that accentedness ratings highly correlated with comprehensibility judgment. The findings of this study confirm what some recent studies have found regarding the contribution of segments and prosody to L2 perception, but differ from some previous studies in regards to the relationship between L2 accentedness and comprehensibility. This study has both theoretical and pedagogical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Acquisition of Chinese as a Second Language Pronunciation
Subtitle of host publicationSegments and Prosody
EditorsChunsheng Yang
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-3809-4
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-3808-7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2021


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