Perceptual study and teaching methods on speech prosody for Mandarin as a second language
In learning Mandarin as a second language, it is usually observed that the students are able to acquire the lexical tones in isolated syllables very well, but there is still conspicuous foreign accent in their continuous speech. This should be attributed to the lack of effective teaching on the prosodic structures of continuous speech. Although it has been generally accepted that pitch plays the primary role in the naturalness of Mandarin speech, a perceptual experiment conducted on L2 Mandarin speech produced by German students showed that timing also played an important role in the naturalness of L2 Mandarin speech, and timing error was one of the main causes for the foreign accent in L2 Mandarin speech. Therefore, in teaching Mandarin as a second language, attention should be paid not only to isolated lexical tones but also to the pitch and timing patterns of connected polysyllabic words. On the basis of the first author's practice in teaching Mandarin as a second language in Australia, we proposed some effective methods for teaching students to produce more natural prosody for L2 Mandarin speech.
Journal of School of Chinese Language and Culture Nanjing Normal University