The influence of language experience on categorical perception of pitch contours

Gang Peng, Hong Ying Zheng, Tao Gong, Ruo Xiao Yang, Jiang Ping Kong, William Shi Yuan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research on categorical perception of pitch contours has mainly considered the contrast between tone language and non-tone language listeners. This study investigates not only the influence of tone language vs. non-tone language experience (German vs. Chinese), but also the influence of different tone inventories (Mandarin tones vs. Cantonese tones), on the categorical perception of pitch contours. The results show that the positions of the identification boundaries do not differ significantly across the 3 groups of listeners, i.e., Mandarin, Cantonese, and German, but that the boundary widths do differ significantly between tone language (Mandarin and Cantonese) listeners and non-tone language (German) listeners, with broader boundary widths for non-tone language listeners. In the discrimination tasks, the German listeners exhibit only psychophysical boundaries, whereas Chinese listeners exhibit linguistic boundaries, and these linguistic boundaries are further shaped by the different tone inventories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of language experience on categorical perception of pitch contours'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this