Second Language Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese Tones

Beyond First-Language Transfer


Tones are the most challenging aspect of learning Chinese pronunciation for adult learners and traditional research mostly attributes tonal errors to interference from learners’ native languages. In Second Language Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese Tones, Hang Zhang offers a series of cross-linguistic studies to argue that there are factors influencing tone acquisition that extend beyond the transfer of structures from learners’ first languages, and beyond characteristics extracted from Chinese. These factors include universal phonetic and phonological constraints as well as pedagogical issues. By examining non-native Chinese tone productions made by speakers of non-tonal languages (English, Japanese, and Korean), this book brings together theory and practice and uses the theoretical insights to provide concrete suggestions for teachers and learners of Chinese.

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Hang Zhang, Ph.D. (2013), is Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics at George Washington University. She has published widely in academic journals including Second Language Research, Chinese as a Second Language, and International Journal of Applied Linguistics.
"This book is beyond doubt an excellent source that will surely benefit not only a community of linguists or psycholinguists who are interested in L2 acquisition but also classroom teachers and language learners with not much linguistic background." ~ Mengzhu Yan, Victoria University of Wellington, on Linguistlist (March 2019)
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Selected Abbreviations
 Mandarin Tones

1 Introduction
 1.1 Phonetics and Phonology of Mandarin Chinese Tones
 1.2 Chinese Tone Variations
 1.2.1 The Variants of T3
 1.2.2 Other Tone Sandhi Processes
 1.3 Intonation in Chinese
 1.4 The Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese Tones
 1.5 Organization of this Book

2 Three Puzzles in Mandarin L2 Tone Acquisition
 2.1 Prosodic Structures of English, Japanese, and Korean
 2.2 Puzzles Surrounding the L2 Acquisition of Tones

3 Methodology: Data Collection and Analysis
 3.1 Test Materials
 3.2 Participants and Recording Procedure
 3.3 Assessment of L2 Tones
 3.4 Data Analysis

4 Coarticulation Effects in L2 Chinese Tones
 4.1 The Nature of Anticipatory Tone Coarticulation
 4.2 Research Questions and Hypotheses
 4.3 Results
 4.4 Discussion
 4.5 Conclusion

5 Phonological Universals and the Acquisition Order of Mandarin Tones
 5.1 Phonological Background
 5.2 Results
 5.3 Discussion: An OT Account for the Acquisition of Identical Tone Sequences
 5.4 Conclusion

6 Acquisition of the Third Tone
 6.1 The Allophones and Sandhi Rules of Tone 3
 6.2 The Second Language Acquisition of T3
 6.3 Methodology
 6.3.1 Stimuli
 6.3.2 Subjects and Recording Procedures
 6.3.3 Analysis
 6.4 Results
 6.4.1 The Error Patterns of Half-T3 and Raised-T3
 6.4.2 Substitutions Used for Half-T3 and Raised-T3
 6.5 Discussion
 6.5.1 Theoretical Implications: The Underlying Form of T3
 6.5.2 The ‘Half-T3 First’ Method
 6.6 Conclusion

7 Teaching Mandarin Chinese Tones
 7.1 Pedagogical Implications
 7.2 Current Prevailing Teaching Materials
 7.3 Sample Exercises

This book will be of interest to researchers and graduate students in the fields of second language acquisition and Chinese linguistics, as well as Chinese instructors and Chinese language learners.
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