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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Categorical Perception of Phonemic Tone in Yalálag Zapotec

Heriberto Avelino

University of California at Los Angeles, USA

A perceptual experiment was conducted to determine whether listeners of a tone language categorize successive variations of F0 stimuli. The results obtained partially support that perception of tone by YZ listeners is categorical, since a tone boundary effect was attested only for the High>Low continuum. The results indicate that listeners can discriminate better between intraphonemic variations of frequency within the space associated to a tone category than identify them. The overall results suggest that there is a difference in the perception of tones based on the static or dynamic nature of tone frequencies. The steady frequencies of level tones are better discriminated than the contour tones. The results suggest that YZ listeners are sensitive not only to the absolute magnitude of the contour but to the interaction of the extreme endpoint and the slope.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Avelino, Heriberto (2003): "Categorical perception of phonemic tone in Yalálag Zapotec", In ICPhS-15, 1473-1476.