ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3aED10. Dynamic information in the identification of Mandarin Chinese vowels and tones.

Traci L. Suiter

Terry L. Gottfried

Dept. of Psychol., Lawrence Univ., Appleton, WI 54912

Native speakers of Mandarin Chinese were tested on their ability to identify the vowel and tone of syllables produced in a carrier sentence by a female native speaker. Four vowels /i/, /a/, /o/, /u/ were spoken with the four tones of Mandarin: level, rising, falling--rising, and falling. Stimuli in condition A consisted of intact /b/-vowel syllables followed by /dz(barred eye)/, which were excised from the original sentence. Condition B stimuli consisted of the first six pitch periods+silent gap+/dz(barred eye)/. Condition C stimuli consisted of all but the first six pitch periods+/dz(barred eye)/. Listeners were most accurate in condition A, and only slightly less accurate in condition C. Listeners were significantly less accurate identifying initial-only syllables (condition B). Most errors were made on tone identification. These findings suggest that Mandarin Chinese listeners rely little on the formant transitions from the initial portion of the syllable to identify tone. Further studies investigate how the final portion of the syllable affects identification. [Work supported by NSF-ILI Grant No. USE-9251432.]