14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Naive Imitation of Second-Language Stimuli: Duration and F0

Duncan Markham

Deakin University, Australia

The ability of language learners and na.ve experimental subjects to reproduce auditory stimuli is an important issue in understanding the causes of foreign accent. Data from imitations of auditory stimuli from Mandarin are presented. Eight native speakers of Swedish, without prior knowledge of Mandarin, imitated three three-morpheme phrases. The paper examines objective measures of articulatory reproduction, focusing on durational and F0 characteristics of the imitations, rather than presenting accent-ratings. Durational measurements revealed considerable individual fluctuation in the closeness of the imitations, although there were some clearly identifiable differences between subjects. Some subjects were also found to be more consistent in reproducing the same pattern. Fundamental frequency data show that some subjects treated contour tones as level tones. Again, some subjects are more successful than others at matching the target, or reproducing the same pattern. These observations agree with a previous study of durational and intonational imitation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Markham, Duncan (1999): "Naive imitation of second-language stimuli: duration and F0", In ICPhS-14, 1145-1148.