Perception and Production of Prominence Distribution Patterns of Chinese EFL Learners

Xia Wang, Aijun Li, Xiaoli Ji, Institute of Linguistics, CASS

This paper explores the relationship between the perception and production of prominence distribution patterns through a perceptual experiment on both Chinese EFL (English as foreign language) learners and native English speakers. Seven American English native speakers and twelve Chinese EFL learners contributed to the production database, in which each speaker was required to read 32 utterances with different sentence types and focus types (narrow or broad). Six Americans and nine Chinese EFL learners were recruited for the perceptual experiment on the judgment of prominence distributions. The similarities of the distribution patterns of prominences were calculated and MDS analysis was conducted from the speakers’ and listeners’ perspectives. The results exhibited a close correlation between perception and production of prominence distribution patterns and learners’ oral English proficiency levels.