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Production of French final stressed syllables in Accentual Phrase by Chinese learners: A pilot study

Abstract : Rhythm plays an essential role in the segmentation of speech, a fundamental process in encoding and decoding messages for speakers and listeners. This study compared productions of French stressed syllables at different rhythmic boundaries, by French native speakers (NS) and Chinese learners (CL). The study started by retrieving duration of vowels and syllables within the examined utterances, with special focus on the last stressed syllables in Accentual Phrase (AP), for which temporal and non-temporal parameters were examined. Results concerning the temporal patterns showed that both NS and CL produced final lengthening in AP final syllables. However, CL’s durations were much longer than the NS’. At the utterance level, CL with low proficiency had a wide temporal variation among segments, while high proficient CL had an isochrony tendency, similar to NS’ performance. Results concerning the non-temporal parameters showed that low proficient CL produced a pitch fall between rhythmic units, which was not the case in NS’ production. We considered this finding as a negative transfer from resetting of pitch register in Mandarin Chinese. Distribution of pauses was also analyzed, and some inappropriate pauses inserted within sense groups were found in CL. These pauses may weaken listener’s decoding process in speech.
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Lei Xi, Sandrine Wachs, Rachid Ridouane. Production of French final stressed syllables in Accentual Phrase by Chinese learners: A pilot study. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, May 2020, Tokyo, Japan. pp.895-899, ⟨10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-183⟩. ⟨hal-02620130⟩

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