The perception of non-native lexical pitch accent by speakers of `accentless` Japanese dialects

Akira Utsugi, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN
Masatoshi Koizumi, Department of Linguistics, Tohoku University
Reiko Mazuka, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN

While Standard (Tokyo) Japanese has a lexical tonal system known as a system of ‘lexical pitch accent’, there are some varieties of Japanese, called ‘accentless’ dialects, which do not have any lexical tonal phenomena. We investigated how the speakers of those dialects perceive Standard Japanese accent, which is nonexistent in their native dialect’s phonology. The results of the Sequence Recall task showed that their scores were lower than those of control (Standard Japanese) participants. We also found a large variance in the results of ‘accentless’ participants, which was probably caused by their exposure to Standard Japanese.