The paper studies the production and perception of Estonian quantity oppositions by native
Estonians (L1 subjects) and non-native speakers
with Russian-language background (L2 subjects). Estonian quantity system involves three
contrastive prosodic patterns referred to as short
(Q1), long (Q2) and overlong (Q3) quantity degrees. These phonological contrasts are
manifested by a complex interaction of durational
and tonal cues in a disyllabic foot. For L2 subjects the Estonian quantity contrasts
constitute a difficult issue since there are no similar
patterns in Russian to rely on.
The production of quantity contrasts was examined in two-syllable CVCV-words read in sentence context; for the perception experiments a stimulus set involving isolated CVCV-words with varying duration of vowels in both syllables and varying F0 contour was created. Ten L1 and ten L2 subjects participated in both the reading of test sentences and the perception experiment.
The results showed that L2 subjects were successful in distinguishing Q1 and Q2 patterns in production and perception, but failed in distinguishing Q2 and Q3 patterns in both tasks.
Index Terms: L2 speech, quantity degrees, categorical perception, category boundary, Estonian, Russian
Bibliographic reference. Meister, Lya / Meister, Einar (2012): "The production and perception of Estonian quantity degrees by native and non-native speakers", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 887-890.