Prosodic Analysis on English Mild Imperatives of Chinese EFL Learners

Xia Wang, Jia Sun, and Aijun Li, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The present study investigates the prosodic differences of English mild imperative sentences between native American English speakers and Chinese EFL (learning English as foreign language) learners within the framework of AM Theory. The study found out that prosodic native speakers and Chinese EFL learners exhibit the following prosodic differences: (i) phonological patterns of sentence-stress realization, specifically, number and location of the stress, and types of boundary tones. Comparatively speaking, for mild imperatives, native speakers apply two kinds of tones, low rising tone (L*H) as well as falling (H*L) tone to pronounce sentential stress while Chinese EFL learners apply high-level (H*) or rising-falling (H*L) tone; for Chinese EFL learners, the longer the sentence is, the more words are given prominences; (ii) patterns of boundary tones, according to different moods, mild imperatives can be uttered differently by native speakers, intonational phrase ending with H\% or L\%, however, for Chinese learners, only L\% was adopted as boundary tone.