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|Other Titles: ||The Tone Categorization of Taiwan Mandarin|
|Authors: ||張月琴;石磊;Yueh-chin Chang;Pierre Halle|
It is widely agreed that speech perception is categorical in nature for consonants. In contrast, speech perception is generally considered "less" categorical for vowels, reflecting the overlap in production of vowel categories and the rather continuous structure of the vocalic spaces in the languages of the world. Conceivably, overlap and continuity could also condition the perception of linguistic tones in a similar way. The literature on tone categorization, however, is scarce and controversial (Abramson, 1979; Wang, 1976). In this study, we reopened the issue of tone categorization in Taiwan Mandarin, using three tone continua: level-rising (tone 1-tone 2), rising-high falling (tone 2-tone 4), and high falling-low falling (tone 4-tone 3). The test stimuli were derived from natural utterances by giving them FO and amplitude contours interpolated between continuum endpoints. They were presented to native speakers of Taiwan Mandarin embedded in a frame sentence (identification tests), or as single syllables (AXB discrimination tests). The identification functions showed a steep transition at the 50% crossover point, while the discrimination functions showed rather wide and smooth peaks, roughly centered on the corresponding identification crossover locations. Because the discrimination level was high throughout the entire tone continua and the discrimination peaks were not as sharp as those typically found for consonant continua, the present results support the notion of a lesser degree of categorical perception for tones than for consonants.
Key words: tone categorization, identification test, AXB discrimination test, Taiwan Mandarin
|Appears in Collections:||[01 清華學報] 新30卷第1期|
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