Perception and Production of Lexical Tones by 3-Year-Old, Mandarin-Speaking Children The present study investigated 3-year-old children's perception and production of Mandarin lexical tones in monosyllabic words. Thirteen 3-year-old, Mandarin-speaking children participated in the study. Tone perception was examined by a picture-pointing task, and tone production was investigated by picture naming. To compare children's productions with the adult forms, 4 mothers ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2005
Perception and Production of Lexical Tones by 3-Year-Old, Mandarin-Speaking Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Puisan Wong
    The City University of New York
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The City University of New York
  • James J. Jenkins
    The City University of New York
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: pwong@gc.cuny.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2005
Perception and Production of Lexical Tones by 3-Year-Old, Mandarin-Speaking Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2005, Vol. 48, 1065-1079. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/074)
History: Received April 15, 2004 , Revised September 26, 2004 , Accepted January 20, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2005, Vol. 48, 1065-1079. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/074)
History: Received April 15, 2004; Revised September 26, 2004; Accepted January 20, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 34

The present study investigated 3-year-old children's perception and production of Mandarin lexical tones in monosyllabic words. Thirteen 3-year-old, Mandarin-speaking children participated in the study. Tone perception was examined by a picture-pointing task, and tone production was investigated by picture naming. To compare children's productions with the adult forms, 4 mothers of the children were asked to say the same set of words to their children in a picture-reading activity. The children's and mothers' productions were low-pass filtered at 500 Hz and 400 Hz, respectively, to eliminate segmental information. Ten Mandarin-speaking judges identified the productions of tones from the filtered speech. Adult productions were more accurately identified than productions of the children. The children perceived the level, rising, and falling tones with relatively high accuracy. The dipping tone posed the greatest difficulty for the children in both perception and production.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a Professional Staff Congress—City University of New York grant to Richard G. Schwartz and by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to Richard G. Schwartz (Grant 5R01DC003885) and Winifred Strange (Grant 5R01DC00323-17). Winifred Strange provided the laboratory facilities for the judgment portion of the project and insightful comments on the manuscript. Gisela Jia collected the data for the two children in Beijing and provided constructive comments on the manuscript. Kanae Nishi and Gary Chant provided valuable technical supports. William Hui prepared the picture stimuli. Bruno Tagliaferri wrote the judgment software. Yi Xu provided helpful information and references. Hwei Bing Lin and Min-Deh Wei provided their clinic for testing. Loraine Obler and Martin Gitterman provided useful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. We thank them all. We are also indebted to the schools, physicians, and individuals who helped locate potential participants. Finally, we are especially grateful to the participants and the parents of the children who participated in the project.
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