Perception and Production of Lexical Tones by 3-Year-Old, Mandarin-Speaking Children

Puisan Wong; Schwartz, Richard G.; Jenkins, James J.
October 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2005, Vol. 48 Issue 5, p1065
Academic Journal
The present study investigated 3-year-old children's perception and production of Mandarin lexical tones in monosyllabic words. Thirteen 3-year-old, Mandarin-speaking children participated in the study. Tone perception was examined by a picture-pointing task, and tone production was investigated by picture naming. To compare children's productions with the adult forms, 4 mothers of the children were asked to say the same set of words to their children in a picture-reading activity. The children's and mothers' productions were low-pass filtered at 500 Hz and 400 Hz, respectively, to eliminate segmental information. Ten Mandarin-speaking judges identified the productions of tones from the filtered speech. Adult productions were more accurately identified than productions of the children. The children perceived the level, rising, and falling tones with relatively high accuracy. The dipping tone posed the greatest difficulty for the children in both perception and production.


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