A preliminary investigation of German rhythms by Chinese learners


This study focuses on the temporal and metrical features of the German speech produced by Chinese speakers. It is well known that the values of proportion of vocalic intervals (%V) and the standard deviation of the consonant intervals (C) within the sentence can classify the languages into stress-timed and syllable-timed categories. German is described to be a stress-timed language, while standard Chinese is regarded as a syllable-timed language. It has been suggested that the rhythm of the target language can be influenced by the learner’s native language. In this study we conduct an investigation with 18 Chinese students of the same proficiency level in comparison with 6 native German speakers. Ten sentences from the whole recordings are selected for analysis, we come up with the following results: a) Chinese learners have higher values of %V than those of the German speakers; b) most Chinese learners have higher C values than those of German speakers; c) Chinese learners speak much slower than German speakers. It is argued that these Chinese learners try to add additional vowels after syllable final consonants, they can hardly reduce vowels, but tend to delete certain consonants in consonant clusters due to the influence of their native CV structured syllable-stressed language.

Year: 2013
In session: Spracherwerb, Sprachproduktion und –perzeption
Pages: 79 to 85