Categorical perception of intonation contrasts: effects of listeners' language background

Chang Liu, Amanda Rodriguez
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 2012, 131 (6): EL427-33
Intonation perception of English speech was examined for English- and Chinese-native listeners. F0 contour was manipulated from falling to rising patterns for the final words of three sentences. Listener's task was to identify and discriminate the intonation of each sentence (question versus statement). English and Chinese listeners had significant differences in the identification functions such as the categorical boundary and the slope. In the discrimination functions, Chinese listeners showed greater peakedness than English peers. The cross-linguistic differences in intonation perception were similar to the previous findings in perception of lexical tones, likely due to listeners' language background differences.

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