The 32nd Penn Linguistics Colloquium
23 February 2008
A Tale of Two Fricatives
Consonantal Contrast in Heritage Speakers of Mandarin
Charles B. Chang, Erin Haynes, Russell Rhodes, and Yao Yao
University of California, Berkeley
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Outline
1.
Background and research questions
2.
Methods
3.
Results
4.
Discussion
5.
Conclusions
Background


This study compares fricative production in
heritage speakers of Mandarin to that of native
Mandarin speakers and that of native English
speakers learning Mandarin as a foreign
language.
Heritage speakers of Mandarin (narrow definition):
people who have had exposure to Mandarin in their
family but have shifted to primarily using English
3
Background

A few studies have examined the phonological
competence of heritage speakers:



Au et al. (2002) and Knightly et al. (2003): heritage
speakers of Spanish have a phonological advantage
over late learners (VOT, degree of lenition, and
accent ratings).
Oh et al. (2002, 2003): heritage speakers of Korean
exhibit rather native-like production (VOT and
accent ratings).
Godson (2003): heritage speakers of Armenian show
influence in their Armenian vowels from English, but
only for Armenian vowels close to English vowels.
4
Research Questions



Only Godson (2003) has explored categorical
neutralization, and only with respect to vowels.
Do heritage speakers maintain consonantal
contrasts of the heritage language?
Do heritage speakers maintain contrasts between
segments of the heritage language and similar
segments of the dominant language?
5
Research Questions

Realization of 3 fricatives compared:
Mandarin /ʂ/
English /ʃ/
Mandarin /ɕ/
6
Outline
1.
Background and research questions
2.
Methods
3.
Results
4.
Discussion
5.
Conclusions
Methods

Participants

12 speakers total




Questionnaire


3 native speakers of Mandarin
6 heritage speakers of Mandarin
3 late learners of Mandarin
Speakers’ status determined based on a language background
questionnaire
Recordings


All items recorded in a sound-proof booth (at 48 kHz, 16 bps)
Marantz PMD660, AKG C420 head-mounted condenser
microphone
8
Methods

Stimuli

91 words total



59 Mandarin words
32 English words
Presentation of stimuli


words read off of index cards
 English words written in English orthography
 Mandarin words written in Mandarin orthography (traditional and
simplified characters) and romanization (pinyin and BoPoMoFo)
 all words written and read in isolation
words read in 8 blocks
 4 Mandarin blocks
 4 English blocks
 block consisted of reading all of the words from a given language
 words randomized before each block
9
Methods

Acoustic measurements




All measurements were performed in Praat (Boersma
& Weenink 2008).
Peak amplitude frequency and centroid frequency
(Ladefoged 2005) were measured over a spectrum of
the middle 100 ms of the fricative.
Average values of F1, F2, and F3 were measured
over the first 20 ms of the vowel.
Analysis of data

Statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon
matched pairs signed-rank test.
10
Outline
1.
Background and research questions
2.
Methods
3.
Results
4.
Discussion
5.
Conclusions
Results

Mean peak amplitude frequency, by speaker
(L = female speakers, R = male speakers)
**
*
**
**
*
**
*
*
**
*
**
**
*
*
**
**
*
12
Results

Mean centroid frequency, by speaker
(L = female speakers, R = male speakers)
**
**
**
*
*
*
*
**
*
*
**
**
*
*
13
Results

Distinctions made between fricatives, by speaker:
(1-3 = native, 4-9 = heritage, 10-12 = learners)
/ʂ/-/ʃ/
/ɕ/-/ʃ/
/ʂ/-/ɕ/
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
- - / - + / +
/ + / + + + +
+ + + + / + /
8 9 10 11 12
/ - + - + + + + +
+ + + + +
14
Outline
1.
Background and research questions
2.
Methods
3.
Results
4.
Discussion
5.
Conclusions
Discussion

The spectral data indicate:


Almost all speakers clearly distinguish alveolopalatal /ɕ/ from retroflex /ʂ/ and the English
palato-alveolar /ʃ/.
Realization of the contrast between /ʂ/ and /ʃ/
shows a great deal of variation among speakers.
Discussion


Two of the three native speakers and two of
the three late learners collapse /ʂ/ and /ʃ/.
The most advanced heritage speaker and the
least advanced heritage speaker pattern with
native speakers and late learners, respectively.
/ʃ/
/ʂ/
/ɕ/
Discussion

The middle four heritage speakers keep /ʂ/
and /ʃ/ apart on one or both spectral
measures. None of them merges the two
sounds.
/ʃ/
/ʂ/
/ɕ/
Outline
1.
Background and research questions
2.
Methods
3.
Results
4.
Discussion
5.
Conclusions
Conclusions


Our results suggest that native speakers and
late learners most likely collapse /ʃ/ and /ʂ/,
while heritage speakers tend to keep the two
sounds apart.
Two possible explanations:


Early exposure to both languages makes heritage
speakers better at hitting the two targets.
Early-acquired categories interact with each
other and are dissimilated.
Conclusions

Our results also suggest that there is a
correspondence in heritage speakers between
linguistic performance and amount of
exposure to the heritage language.
native speakers
most advanced
heritage speakers
intermediate
heritage speakers
late learners
least advanced
heritage speakers
Thank you!
Acknowledgements:
Sharon Inkelas
Keith Johnson
all speaker participants
participants in a seminar on phonological learning (UCB, Fall 2007)
UC Berkeley Linguistics
22
Selected References
Au, Terry K., Leah M. Knightly, Sun-Ah Jun, and Janet S. Oh. 2002.
Overhearing a language during childhood. Psychological Science 13(3): 238243.
Boersma, Paul, and David Weenink. 2008. Praat: Doing phonetics by
computer. http://www.praat.org.
Godson, Linda. 2003. Phonetics of Language Attrition: Vowel Production and
Articulatory Setting in the Speech of Western Armenian Heritage Speakers. PhD
dissertation, University of California, San Diego.
Knightly, Leah M., Sun-Ah Jun, Janet S. Oh, and Terry K. Au. 2003.
Production benefits of childhood overhearing. Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America 114(1): 465-474.
Ladefoged, Peter. 2005. Vowels and Consonants, 2nd edition. Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishing.
Oh, Janet S., Terry K. Au, and Sun-Ah Jun. 2002. Benefits of childhood
language experience for adult L2 learners’ phonology. In B. Skarabela et al.
(eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Boston University Conference on Language
Development, Vol. 2: 464-472. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Oh, Janet, Sun-Ah Jun, Leah Knightly, and Terry Au. 2003. Holding on to
childhood language memory. Cognition 86(3): B53-B64.
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Results

Mean F1 frequency
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Results

Mean F2 frequency
25
Results
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Mean F3 frequency
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