Perception of Prosodic Social Affects in Japanese by American Learners of Japanese

Marine Guerry, Takaaki Shochi, Albert Rilliard, Donna Erickson


This study investigates whether people can infer a speaker's social affective expressions in a language that is not their native language, by examining the variable lexical labels used to identify them. A free labeling paradigm shows evidence of cultural specificity in the perceptual behavior of listeners. Subjects were 16 US English listeners, asked to name the affective expressions carried by a set of stimuli. The results showed that their perceptual behavior was quite coherent relative to the expressions intended by the speakers. Also, despite the fact that "kyoshuku" is not a conventionalized expression in US culture, listeners' terms to describe it were in accordance with the intended expression. The Japanese prosodic expression of seduction was described as “happy” or “joy” by native listeners whereas “flirtatious” was a term used by US English listeners; a so-called “seductive” expression may be more conventionalized in western cultures than in Japan.


 DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2016-17

Cite as: Guerry, M., Shochi, T., Rilliard, A., Erickson, D. (2016) Perception of Prosodic Social Affects in Japanese by American Learners of Japanese. Proc. ISAPh 2016 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics, 84-88, DOI: 10.21437/ISAPh.2016-17.


@inproceedings{Guerry2016,
  author={Marine Guerry and Takaaki Shochi and Albert Rilliard and Donna Erickson},
  title={Perception of Prosodic Social Affects in Japanese by American Learners of Japanese},
  year=2016,
  booktitle={Proc. ISAPh 2016 International Symposium on Applied Phonetics},
  pages={84--88},
  doi={10.21437/ISAPh.2016-17},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/ISAPh.2016-17}
}