The relationship between the perception and production of non-native tones

Kaile Zhang, Gang Peng

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


To further investigate the relationship between non-native tone perception and production, the present study trained Mandarin speakers to learn Cantonese lexical tones with a speech shadowing paradigm. After two weeks’ training, both Mandarin speakers’ Cantonese tone perception and their production had improved significantly. The overall performances in Cantonese tone perception and production are moderately correlated, but the degree of performance change after training among the two modalities shows no correlation, suggesting that non-native tone perception and production might be partially correlated, but that the improvement of the two modalities is not synchronous. A comparison between the present study and previous studies on non-native tone learning indicates that experience in lexical tone processing might be important in forming the correlation between tone perception and production. Mandarin speakers showed greater improvement in Cantonese tone perception than in production after training, indicating that second language (L2) perception might precede production. Besides, both the first language (L1) and L2 tonal systems showed an influence on Mandarin speakers’ learning of Cantonese tones
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINTERSPEECH 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • production
  • perception
  • lexical tones


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