The role of musical experience in Cantonese lexical tone perception by native speakers of Thai

Angela Cooper, Simon Fraser University
Yue Wang, Simon Fraser University

Adult non-native perception is subject to influence from a variety of factors, including native language and musical experience. The present study investigates the influence of these two factors in the perception and learning of non-native lexical tones. Native Thai-speaking musicians and non-musicians completed pre- and post-test identification tasks on five Cantonese tones, with 4 days of lexical identification training. Higher identification accuracy scores for musicians suggest that extensive experience with musical pitch enhances perception of non-native linguistic pitch. However, patterns of tonal accuracy improvement were similar across groups and can be attributed to the influence of the L1 tonal system.