Do English learners of Japanese produce isolated nouns with Standard Japanese lexical accent?

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In much of previous research on the acquisition of Japanese lexical accent by English learners, no distinction has been made between the direct influence of Standard Japanese on the one hand, and chance correspondences between Standard Japanese and the learners' interlanguage on the other. A study was carried out in which phonetically trained Japanese native speakers identified the accent types of 2- and 3-mora isolated nouns produced by 13 less experienced and 8 more experienced British English learners of Japanese, and these were compared with Standard Japanese (SJ) accent types. The less experienced and more experienced learners differed in the amount of Japanese tuition they had received and the length of time they had spent in Japan, and stimuli were chosen that were expected to be familiar to the learners. Two-mora nouns showed the result that, for both groups of learners, whether a word was produced with initial or no accent had no relation to its accent type in SJ. For 3-mora nouns, a statistically significant influence of SJ was observed for both groups of learners, but the correspondence with SJ was not high, regardless of Japanese experience. These results imply that much - or, in the case of 2-mora nouns, all - of the correspondence with a word's SJ accent type can be attributed to chance matches with the learner's interlanguage, and may suggest that English learners of Japanese have difficulty in recognising pitch as a lexical property.

英語を母語とする学習者による日本語の語レベルアクセントの習得を調査している先行研究では,標準語の直 接的な影響と,学習者の中間言語と標準語の偶然の一致という二点を区別しているものは少ない.本研究では,イギリス英語を母語とする日本語学習者を対象 に,経験の少ない学習者13名,経験の多い学習者8名が生成する2~3拍の独立名詞のアクセント型を音声学の専門知識のある日本語母語話者に判定させ,標 準語のアクセント型との比較を行った.経験の少ない学習者と経験の多い学習者は,日本語の学習時間及び日本滞在期間の点で異なっていたが,資料語は学習者 にとって馴染みがあると予測されるものを選定した.分析の結果,2拍名詞が有核で生成されるのか無核で生成されるのかは,どちらの学習者群においても,標 準語のアクセント型とは無関係であるという結果となった.3拍名詞に関しては,標準語のアクセント型の影響はどちらの学習者群においても統計的に有意では あるものの,標準語との一致は日本語の経験に関わらず高くなかった.この結果から,標準語の一致の大部分―2拍名詞の場合はその全て―は学習者の中間言語 との偶然の一致の結果であるということが示唆され,また,英語を母語とする日本語学習者にとっては,ピッチを語の特徴として解釈することが困難であるとい う可能性が示唆される.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
JournalSecond Language
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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