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Accuracy and Stability in English Speakers’ Production of Japanese Pitch Accent

Muradás-Taylor, Becky ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7275-6016 (2021) Accuracy and Stability in English Speakers’ Production of Japanese Pitch Accent. Language and Speech, 65 (2). pp. 377-403.

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Standard Japanese uses pitch accent to distinguish words such as initially-accented hashi ‘chopsticks’ and finally-accented hashi ‘bridge’. Research on the second language acquisition of pitch accent shows considerable variation: in accuracy scores in identification, in different dominant accent types in production, and in the unstable accent types of repeated words. This study investigates pitch accent production in English-speaking learners of Japanese, asking how accuracy and stability vary a) with amount of Japanese experience and b) between learners. Two groups of learners (13 less experienced; 8 more experienced) produced 180 words in three contexts (e.g., ame ‘rain’, ame da ‘it’s rain’, and ame ga furu ‘rain falls’). Three Japanese phoneticians identified the accent types of the words that the learners produced. The results showed no difference in accuracy or stability between the two groups and little inter-learner variation in accuracy: all had low accuracy. Although some learners had relatively high stability, they did not maintain accent type contrasts across contexts. These results suggest that L1 English speakers do not encode pitch accent in long-term memory, raising questions for future research and language teaching.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/00238309211022376
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5391

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