Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Lexical Tone in the Speech Production of Chinese Words

Xiaolin Zhou, Jie Zhuang

Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China

Picture and word naming tasks were used to investigate the activation of tonal information in the speech production of Chinese words. A picture was presented first, followed by a Chinese character superimposing on the picture. This character shared either the segmental template and the tone, or only the segmental template, or no phonological properties with the name of the picture. Subjects were asked to name the picture (Experiment 1) or the character (Experiment 2). The SOA between presentation of the picture and presentation of the character was manipulated. In Experiment 1, the naming of pictures at the SOA of 57 ms and 200 ms was facilitated when the names of the pictures shared phonological properties with the characters. But the effect for tone activation was lager at the short SOA than at the longer SOA while the effect for segmental activation was stable across SOAs, indicating different time courses for the activation of tonal information and segmental information in speech production. In Experiment 2, at the both the short and the long SOAs, character naming was facilitated when the characters shared both segmental and tonal information with the picture names. Character naming tended to be inhibitory when the characters shared only the segmental templates with the picture names. These results suggested that lexical tones are activated very early in the speech production of Chinese words and the mismatch of tonal information in primed picture naming or character naming can effectively reduce or neutralize segmental facilitation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zhou, Xiaolin / Zhuang, Jie (2000): "Lexical tone in the speech production of Chinese words", In ICSLP-2000, vol.2, 51-54.