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Academic Paper


Title: The developmental trajectories of attention distribution and segment-tone integration in Dutch learners of Mandarin tones
Author: Ting Zou
Author: Yiya Chen
Author: Johanneke Caspers
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Dutch
Abstract: This study investigates how beginner and advanced Dutch learners of Mandarin process tonal information. An ABX task was adopted to investigate phonological discrimination of Mandarin tones and segment-tone integration in Dutch learners of Mandarin, with both native Mandarin and Dutch speakers (without tonal learning experience) as control groups. Results showed a developmental path in lexical tone processing. The beginner learners could not process tonal contrast adequately at the phonological level, and they processed segmental and tonal information separately, like native Dutch listeners without Mandarin experience. The advanced learners showed a good phonological discrimination of tonal contrasts. They showed a more native-like pattern in distributing their attention between segmental and tonal information, and they processed the two dimensions in an integrated manner, similar to native Mandarin listeners. This suggests that the acquisition of new tonal categories in L2 involves a redistribution of attention along perceptual dimensions and the development of segment-tone integration.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 20, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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