Suprasegmental and prosodic features contributing to perceived accent in heritage Cantonese

Ting Yan Rachel Kan

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Different suprasegmental and prosodic features impact the perceived native-likeness of speakers, although the exploration of these features have typically focused on second language English. This paper presents a preliminary study investigating the contribution of tonal space and distance between level tones, speech rate, and pause behaviour to the perceived accent of three groups of Cantonese speakers (n = 5 each): heritage speakers with high and low native-likeness ratings respectively, and homeland (majority language) speakers. Speech samples were taken from a narrative task, which was also used to obtain the native-likeness ratings from 55 raters. The results showed lower ratings to be associated with smaller tonal space, slower speech rate, and more frequent and longer pauses. Formulae for normalising fundamental frequency (F0) were adjusted and applied to the present data; these changes are also presented and their effectiveness is discussed. Index Terms: tonal space, speech rate, pauses, accent ratings, Cantonese, heritage language
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusNot published / presented only - 25 May 2020
Event10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 25 May 202028 May 2020


Competition10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020


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