The role of pitch dimensions in non-word learning by Dutch and Mandarin listeners

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Dutch listeners are known to employ positional stress for word recognition, while Mandarin listeners use pitch contour contrasts. The present study
investigated the influence of pitch dimensions, namely, pitch level, pitch contour, together with pitch position in non-word learning by Dutch and
Mandarin listeners. Both groups learned to identify disyllabic pseudo-words differing only in pitch dimensions in a picture selection task. Language specific perceptual patterns were found. Mandarin listeners were found to be able to encode non-native pitch contrasts for word identification, regardless of pitch position. They showed a preference for contour contrasts to level contrasts. Compared to Mandarin listeners, Dutch listeners encountered difficulties.
Still, they showed a better performance when pitch contrasts occurred word-finally than -initially, which could be due to recency effect. The findings suggest
the influence of phonological representations in the native language on mapping sound to meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
PublisherAustralasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-0-646-800069-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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