Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2011

Volterra, Italy
September 1-2, 2011

Auditory-Visual Discrimination and Identification of Lexical Tone Within and Across Tone Languages

Denis Burnham, Virginie Attina, Benjawan Kasisopa

MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia

The aim of this research is to investigate the general features of lexical tones that might contribute to their categorisation. Thai tones were presented for (a) discrimination and (b) identification by native Thai and non-native Mandarin tone language participants in auditory-only (AO), visual-only (VO) and auditory-visual (AV) conditions. Discrimination tests revealed: (i) good auditory and auditory-visual discrimination of tone pairs by Thai and Mandarin perceivers, (ii) significant contribution of visual information to tone discrimination in Thai and Mandarin perceivers; (iii) greater AV>AO augmentation at 1500 vs 500 ms interstimulus interval (ISI), showing more use of visual information for tone at phonemic (tonemic) than phonetic (tonetic) levels; and (iv) better overall discrimination – and especially large AV>AO augmentation – of contour-contour than contour-level or level-level tone pairs. Identification tests showed, as expected, that Thai participants were accurate in identifying Thai tones, using both auditory and visual information. Mandarin participants were generally able to categorize the non-native Thai tones into their native tone categories, and also used visual information, especially for contour tones. The discrimination and identification data relationship is discussed as are implications for further studies.

Index Terms. auditory-visual speech perception, crosslanguage studies, lexical tone.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Burnham, Denis / Attina, Virginie / Kasisopa, Benjawan (2011): "Auditory-visual discrimination and identification of lexical tone within and across tone languages", In AVSP-2011, 37-42.