Separability of tones and rhymes in Chinese speech perception: Evidence from perceptual migrations

Biao Zeng, Sven Mattys

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This study used the perceptual-migration paradigm to explore whether Mandarin tones and syllable rhymes are processed separately during Mandarin speech perception. Following the logic of illusory conjunctions, we calculated the cross-ear migration of tones, rhymes, and their combination in Chinese and English listeners. For Chinese listeners, tones migrated more than rhymes. The opposite pattern was found for English listeners. The results lend empirical support to autosegmental theory, which claims separability and mobility between tonal and segmental representations. They also provide evidence that such representations and their involvement in perception are deeply shaped by a listener’s linguistic experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage and Speech
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2016

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