Exploring the Effects of Imitating Hand Gestures and Head Nods on L1 and L2 Mandarin Tone Production Purpose This study investigated the impact of metaphoric actions—head nods and hand gestures—in producing Mandarin tones for first language (L1) and second language (L2) speakers. Method In 2 experiments, participants imitated videos of Mandarin tones produced under 3 conditions: (a) speech alone, (b) speech + head nods, and ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   September 03, 2018
Exploring the Effects of Imitating Hand Gestures and Head Nods on L1 and L2 Mandarin Tone Production
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Annie Zheng
    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
    Center for Language and Brain, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
  • Yukari Hirata
    Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
    Center for Language and Brain, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
  • Spencer D. Kelly
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience Program, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
    Center for Language and Brain, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Spencer D. Kelly: skelly@colgate.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss
    Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss×
  • Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran
    Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   September 03, 2018
Exploring the Effects of Imitating Hand Gestures and Head Nods on L1 and L2 Mandarin Tone Production
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0481
History: Received December 26, 2017 , Revised April 1, 2018 , Accepted May 7, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0481
History: Received December 26, 2017; Revised April 1, 2018; Accepted May 7, 2018

Purpose This study investigated the impact of metaphoric actions—head nods and hand gestures—in producing Mandarin tones for first language (L1) and second language (L2) speakers.

Method In 2 experiments, participants imitated videos of Mandarin tones produced under 3 conditions: (a) speech alone, (b) speech + head nods, and (c) speech + hand gestures. Fundamental frequency was recorded for both L1 (Experiment 1) and L2 (Experiment 2a) speakers, and the output of the L2 speakers was rated for tonal accuracy by 7 native Mandarin judges (Experiment 2b).

Results Experiment 1 showed that 12 L1 speakers' fundamental frequency spectral data did not differ among the 3 conditions. In Experiment 2a, the conditions did not affect the production of 24 English speakers for the most part, but there was some evidence that hand gestures helped Tone 4. In Experiment 2b, native Mandarin judges found limited conditional differences in L2 productions, with Tone 3 showing a slight head nods benefit in a subset of “correct” L2 tokens.

Conclusion Results suggest that metaphoric bodily actions do not influence the lowest levels of L1 speech production in a tonal language and may play a very modest role during preliminary L2 learning.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank Colgate's Center for Language and Brain for providing funding for participants. The authors would like to thank Youngsun Cho, Eve Yi, Jack Polikoff, Solhee Bae, Yuan Lou, and Ryan Hildebrandt for their efforts in preparing stimuli, running participants and collecting data, and for all their intelligent contributions to and support for the project.
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