Effects of semantic context and fundamental frequency contours on mandarin speech recognition by second language learners

Linjun Zhang, Yu Li, Han Wu, Xin Li, Hua Shu*, Yang Zhang, Ping Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Speech recognition by second language (L2) learners in optimal and suboptimal conditions has been examined extensively with English as the target language in most previous studies. This study extended existing experimental protocols (Wang et al., 2013) to investigate Mandarin speech recognition by Japanese learners of Mandarin at two different levels (elementary vs. intermediate) of proficiency. The overall results showed that in addition to L2 proficiency, semantic context, F0 contours, and listening condition all affected the recognition performance on the Mandarin sentences. However, the effects of semantic context and F0 contours on L2 speech recognition diverged to some extent. Specifically, there was significant modulation effect of listening condition on semantic context, indicating that L2 learners made use of semantic context less efficiently in the interfering background than in quiet. In contrast, no significant modulation effect of listening condition on F0 contours was found. Furthermore, there was significant interaction between semantic context and F0 contours, indicating that semantic context becomes more important for L2 speech recognition when F0 information is degraded. None of these effects were found to be modulated by L2 proficiency. The discrepancy in the effects of semantic context and F0 contours on L2 speech recognition in the interfering background might be related to differences in processing capacities required by the two types of information in adverse listening conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number908
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Volume7
    Issue numberJUN
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • Fundamental frequency contours
    • Interfering speech
    • Second language (L2) proficiency
    • Semantic context
    • Speech recognition

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