15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Durational Evidence of the Psychological Reality of the Mora in Japanese Speakers' French

Mariko Kondo (1), Shigeko Shinohara (2)

(1) Waseda University, Japan
(2) LPE/CNRS-Paris V, France

This study investigated to what extent the timing organisation of a first language (L1) influences the production of a second language (L2). We studied the timing compensation phenomenon as a tool for analysis of rhythmic organisation. Previous phonetic studies show that the mora is the basic unit of speech timing in Japanese, whereas in French the duration of a phrase is dependent on the number of syllables. Durational data from sets of French phrases consisting of the same number of syllables spoken by Japanese and French speakers will be presented. Our hypothesis was that the timing compensation effects would appear on different levels in the two language groups. The results indicated that: 1) Japanese speakers parse foreign sound sequences into a Japanese speech unit, i.e. the mora; and 2) in production they use the mora rather than the syllable for durational control of French when they speak French.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kondo, Mariko / Shinohara, Shigeko (2003): "Durational evidence of the psychological reality of the mora in Japanese speakers' French", In ICPhS-15, 463-466.