Pitching in tone and non-tone second languages: Cantonese, Mandarin and English produced by Mandarin and Cantonese speakers

Author(s): Guo Li


Comparing pitch range in Mandarin, Cantonese and English produced by Mandarin and Cantonese speakers, this study provides evidence on speakers of tonal L1 resisting pitch range compression in tone and non-tone L2. Both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers enlarged their pitch range in L2 Cantonese/ Mandarin and L2 English. This pattern contrasts with what was found in non-tone language pairs such as Dutch speakers’ L2 English or Finnish speakers’ L2 Russian, supplementing research on L2 prosody. Furthermore, as a preliminary study on tri-linguals’ use of pitch range, this study also showed that speakers vary their pitch ranges in different second languages.


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