The Production of Coarticulated Mandarin Tones by Inexperienced and Experienced English Speakers of Mandarin

Yunjuan He, University of Florida
Ratree Wayland, University of Florida

This study tested the effects of language learning experience, tonal environment, tonal context and syllable position on American English speakers’ ability to produce Mandarin Chinese coarticulated tones in disyllabic words. Two groups of learners with different amounts of classroom learning experience participated in the study. The results obtained indicated that (a) American learners with more learning experience were more accurate than less experienced learners in producing coarticulated Mandarin tones; (b) With increased experience, production of coarticulated tone becomes less affected by such phonological and phonetic factors as syllable position and tonal environment and tonal contexts; (c) tonal environment and tonal context only affected tone 1 production; and (d) syllable position affected tone 2 and tone 4 production accuracy.