Mandarin and English Adults’ Cue-Weighting of Lexical Stress

Zhen Zeng, Karen Mattock, Liquan Liu, Varghese Peter, Alba Tuninetti, Feng-Ming Tsao


Listeners segment speech based on the rhythm of their native language(s) (e.g., stress- vs. syllable-timed, tone vs. non-tone) [1,2]. In English, the perception of speech rhythm relies on analyzing auditory cues pertinent to lexical stress, including pitch, duration and intensity [3]. Focusing on cross-linguistic impact on English lexical stress cue processing, the present study aims to explore English stress cue-weighting by Mandarin-speaking adults (with English adults as control), using an MMN multi-feature paradigm.

Preliminary ERP data revealed cross-linguistic perceptual differences to pitch and duration cues, but not to intensity cues in the bisyllabic non-word /dede/. Specifically, while English adults were similarly sensitive to pitch change at the initial and final syllable of the non-word, they were more sensitive to the duration change at the initial syllable. Comparatively, Mandarin adults were similarly sensitive to duration change at each position, but more sensitive to pitch at the final syllable. Lastly, both the Mandarin group and the English group were more sensitive to the intensity sound change at the second syllable. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2612

Cite as: Zeng, Z., Mattock, K., Liu, L., Peter, V., Tuninetti, A., Tsao, F. (2020) Mandarin and English Adults’ Cue-Weighting of Lexical Stress. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 1624-1628, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2612.


@inproceedings{Zeng2020,
  author={Zhen Zeng and Karen Mattock and Liquan Liu and Varghese Peter and Alba Tuninetti and Feng-Ming Tsao},
  title={{Mandarin and English Adults’ Cue-Weighting of Lexical Stress}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={1624--1628},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2612},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2612}
}