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The phonetic space of phonological categories in heritage speakers of Mandarin

Chang, C. B. and Haynes, E. F. and Yao, Y. and Rhodes, R. (2010) 'The phonetic space of phonological categories in heritage speakers of Mandarin.' In: Bane, M. and Bueno, J. and Grano, T. and Grotberg, A. and McNabb, Y., (eds.), Proceedings from the 44th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: The Main Session. Chicago, IL: Chicago Linguistic Society, pp. 31-45.

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Abstract

In two experiments, we investigated the production of Mandarin and English by heritage speakers of Mandarin in comparison to native Mandarin speakers and late learners. In Experiment 1, speakers in all groups made an F2 distinction between Mandarin and English back vowels, with native Mandarin speakers' vowels in both languages having lower F2 values than those of heritage speakers and late learners. In addition, heritage speakers were found to achieve the greatest separation between similar vowel categories. In Experiment 2, few speakers made a VOT distinction between Mandarin unaspirated and English voiced; however, native Mandarin speakers and heritage speakers did distinguish Mandarin aspirated and English voiceless, both groups putting more distance between the two categories than late learners. Thus, we found that heritage speakers maintain not only language-internal contrasts, but also cross-linguistic contrasts, a result which likely stems from an acute approximation of phonetic norms that occurs during early exposure to both languages.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: phonetics, phonology, language acquisition, heritage speakers, bilingualism, Mandarin Chinese
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Copyright Statement: Copyright 2010 Chicago Linguistic Society. All rights reserved.
Depositing User: Dr. Charles Chang
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 16:40
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/19109

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