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

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

Manifestation of Lexical Accent and Timing Strategy in English Speakers' Japanese

Mariko Kondo

IALS, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

The study investigated the acquisition of Japanese speech rhythm by English speakers. Durational data of beginners and fluent speakers were compared with those of native Japanese speakers. The results showed that beginners had not yet acquired the durational characteristics of Japanese speech rhythm, which are based on the number of morae in a word, whereas fluent speakers demonstrated native-like durational control. Not only did beginners have difficulty in pronouncing words with the correct number of morae, but they also transferred English accentuation strategy, namely lengthening accented vowels and reducing unaccented vowels. Fluent speakers were able to control vowel duration separate from accent. The results implied that speech rhythm is acquired at two separate levels; a lower level durational control at the mora level and a higher level control at the word level.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kondo, Mariko (1999): "Manifestation of lexical accent and timing strategy in English speakers' Japanese", In ICPhS-14, 1467-1470.