ESSV Konferenz Elektronische Sprachsignalverarbeitung

Title: Pronunciation of German Syllable Codas of Mandarin Chinese Speakers

Authors: Hongwei Ding, Hansjörg Mixdorff, Oliver Jokisch


This study investigated the production of German syllable codas by speakers of Mandarin Chinese, and found that the pronunciation of the second foreign language (L3) will not only be influenced by the native language (L1) but also by the first foreign language (L2). The structure of Chinese syllable is very simple, which ends either with a vowel or a nasal consonant /n/ or /ng/. German, however, can have consonant cluster codas up to 4 consonants. Different linguistic constraints will have effects on the German language pronunciation acquisition of Chinese students. In this study 6 Chinese students of three different levels and two native German speakers were asked to read 102 German words with different syllable codas, and 20 German words. The results revealed that Chinese speakers tended to modify the syllable codas by inserting epenthesis, deleting one or more consonants, or substituting features of the consonants. Some pronunciation deviations can be explained by the transfer from Chinese language, such as epenthesis after consonant codas and very strong aspiration of voiceless stops; others can be accounted by the transfer from English, such as substitution of clear /l/ with dark /l/ after a vowel. The results also show that the beginners employed more modifications than advanced speakers, which indicates that accuracy of foreign language pronunciation can be improved, it may take a long period of time. This investigation can thus supply implications for language teaching to facilitate the progress of improvement. On the other hand, the results can also provide more information for the development of a computer-aided pronunciation training system.

Year: 2010
In session: Language Acquisition and L2 Learning
Pages: 281 to 287