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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Training English and Chinese Listeners to Perceive Thai Tones

Ratree P. Wayland

University of Florida, USA

The ability to discriminate the mid and the low tone contrast in Thai by native English (NE) and native Chinese (NC) speakers were investigated before and after an auditory training. The variables under investigation were first language background and the inter-stimulus-interval (ISI) of the presentation (500 vs. 1500 ms). The NC group outperformed the NE group during both the pre- and the post-tests and in both ISI conditions. A significant improvement in discrimination from the pre-test to the post-test in the 1500 ms ISI condition was observed in the NC group, but not in the NE group. These results suggest that prior experience with the tone system in one tone language may be transferable to the perception of tone in another language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wayland, Ratree P. (2003): "Training English and Chinese listeners to perceive Thai tones", In ICPhS-15, 511-514.