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Perception and Production of Mandarin Tones by Swedish Students
Dalarna University, School of Languages and Media Studies, Chinese.
2010 (English)In: 16. Tagung zum modernen Chinesischunterricht des Fachverbands Chinesisch e.V. Chinesisch auf dem Weg zur populären, Zurich, Switzerland, 1-3 september, 2010: Abstracts, Zurich, Switzerland, 2010, p. 20-Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [un]

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of students enrolled in Chinese language course in Sweden – in high schools as well as universities – due to the increased relevance of China within a Swedish context. As may be expected, one of the major challenges for Swedish students is the tonal system of Mandarin Chinese. Further understanding of the production,perception and acquisition of Chinese tones by Swedes is therefore crucial in order to develop effective teaching methodology and, potentially, optimized learning strategies for speakers of Swedish. The current study investigates the perception and production of Chinese tones by Swedish students. The first goal is to characterize the errors made by Swedish students and assess the levels of difficulty posed by the four lexical tones respectively. The performance of 30 students enrolled in beginning-level Chinese courses at Dalarna University, Sweden, is investigated. Participants completed an identification task and a speaking task at the beginning of the course and after one month of study. The results are reported and analyzed on the basis of accuracy percentages,confusion matrices and error patterns. The second goal is to explore the role and potential of Swedish tone-accents for the teaching of Mandarin tones. Swedish is characterized as having pitch accents – a significantly more marginal tonal phenomenon than lexical tones but nevertheless involving pitch contrasts (Bruce, 1977; Thorén, 1997). Previous studies have shown that learners whose L1 (native language) is a tone language (e.g. Thai, Cantonese) may benefit from their L1 in identifying and producing Mandarin tones, compared with learners whose L1 is non-tonal (e.g. English) (Gandour and Harshman, 1978; Gandour, 1983; Lee et al., 1996; etc). It is conceivable that the pitch-accent background of Swedish students may be an advantage in the acquisition of Mandarin tones, which could potentially be utilized in future teaching strategies. The present study contains a preliminary assessment of this issue, through a comparison of Swedish students’ performance in perception and production tasks with those of American students reported in previous studies (Shen, 1989; Miracle, 1989; Hao, 2007).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Zurich, Switzerland, 2010. p. 20-
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5033OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:5033DiVA, id: diva2:522209
Conference
The 16. Tagung zum modernen Chinesischunterricht des Fachverbands Chinesisch e.V. Chinesisch auf dem Weg zur populären, Zurich, Switzerland, 1-3 september, 2010
Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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http://www.ostasien.uzh.ch/sinologie/chaf2010/abstracts_version02.pdf

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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