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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

A Perceptual Study of the Apical Vowels in Beijing Mandarin

Yuk-Man Cheung

City University of Hong Kong, China

The target vowels in the study are the two apical vowels [ɿ] and [ʋ] in Beijing Mandarin. Identification and two-step ABX discrimination tests were performed to determine the perceptual effects of particular acoustic properties differentiating synthetic /ɿ - ʋ/ continua. Results show that variation in F3 throughout the series led to different phoneme identifications. An added varying F2 with varying F3 shifted the categorical boundary associated with the F3 cued series. The results suggest that for the apical vowels [ɿ] and [ʋ] in Beijing Mandarin, F3 is a potent cue for the perceived phonemic distinction, whereas F2 contributes added effect. The discrimination data show that the perception of the two apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin is near categorical or in between highly categorical and continuous.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cheung, Yuk-Man (2003): "A perceptual study of the apical vowels in Beijing Mandarin", In ICPhS-15, 1405-1408.