9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

An ERP Study on Categorical Perception of Lexical Tones and Nonspeech Pitches

Hong-Ying Zheng, William S.-Y. Wang

Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

The study investigates the electrophysiological signature for Categorical Perception (CP) of lexical tones. Mandarin level and rising tones are the targets and nonspeech counterparts, using pure tones with the same pitch contours, are synthesized as controls. The results show that in lexical tone condition, across-category deviant elicits Mismatch Negativity (MMN) but within-category deviant does not. In pure tone condition, neither deviant elicits significant MMN. The result indicates CP of lexical tones can be observed by MMN signal. It also suggests that before listener does the overt decision, brain activates differently to lexical tones from nonspeech pitches.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zheng, Hong-Ying / Wang, William S.-Y. (2008): "An ERP study on categorical perception of lexical tones and nonspeech pitches", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1096.