15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

September 14-18, 2014

Perception of Prosodic Prominence and Boundaries by L1 and L2 Speakers of English

Gábor Pintér (1), Shinobu Mizuguchi (1), Koichi Tateishi (2)

(1) Kobe University, Japan
(2) Kobe College, Japan

This study provides a direct comparison of boundary and prominence perception strategies between Japanese EFL learners and native speakers of English using the Rapid Prosody Transcription (RPT) method. Although RPT experiments are available for both native English speakers and Japanese EFL learners, a direct comparison of the available data is problematic as the stimuli sets used in the experiments are not identical. The present research addresses this issue by using identical stimuli sets across L1 and L2 listeners. The data for native English speakers was taken from RPT experiments carried out by Jennifer Cole with Yoonsook Mo and colleagues [1–3, 5–8]. The non-native data was collected by re-running a subset of RPT tasks reported in the work by Cole and Mo with 108 Japanese undergraduate students. Although native speakers perceived more boundaries and prominent words than L2 speakers, the results outlined surprisingly similar perceptual strategies. A strong correlation was found between the responses of native speakers and Japanese learners of English in both boundary and prominence perception tasks. In boundary perception both groups relied heavily on silent pauses and vocal fillers. In prominence detection the responses correlated with vowel duration, maximum amplitude, and maximum pitch in this specific order for both language groups.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Pintér, Gábor / Mizuguchi, Shinobu / Tateishi, Koichi (2014): "Perception of prosodic prominence and boundaries by L1 and L2 speakers of English", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 544-547.