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Tonal language

Wei Tang, Xi-Jian Wang, Jia-Qi Li, Chang Liu, Qi Dong, Yun Nan
Music and language are two intricately linked communication modalities in humans. A deficit in music pitch processing as manifested in the condition of congenital amusia has been related to difficulties in lexical tone processing for both tone and non-tonal languages. However, it is still unclear whether amusia also affects the perception of vowel phonemes in quiet and in noise. In this study, we examined vowel-plus-tone identification in quiet and noise conditions among Mandarin-speaking amusics with and without speech tone difficulties (tone agnosics and pure amusics, respectively), and IQ- and age-matched controls...
March 6, 2018: Hearing Research
Wang Li, Qian Zhaopeng, Feng Yijun, Niu Haijun
An electrolarynx (EL) is one of the most popular voice rehabilitation technologies used after laryngectomy. However, most ELs generate monotonic EL speech, which has been shown to create a particular deficit in speech intelligibility, especially for Chinese Mandarin (Mandarin). Mandarin is a tonal language that makes lexical distinctions using variations in tone. Our purpose is to design an EL that can produce the four Mandarin tones, and to evaluate its performance. We designed a fundamental frequency (F0) control method for Mandarin EL speech and manufactured a touch-controlled electrolarynx (T-EL) prototype...
March 2018: IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Vincent K M Cheung, Lars Meyer, Angela D Friederici, Stefan Koelsch
Complex auditory sequences known as music have often been described as hierarchically structured. This permits the existence of non-local dependencies, which relate elements of a sequence beyond their temporal sequential order. Previous studies in music have reported differential activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) when comparing regular and irregular chord-transitions based on theories in Western tonal harmony. However, it is unclear if the observed activity reflects the interpretation of hierarchical structure as the effects are confounded by local irregularity...
February 28, 2018: Scientific Reports
Xiaoting Cheng, Yangwenyi Liu, Yilai Shu, Duo-Duo Tao, Bing Wang, Yasheng Yuan, John J Galvin, Qian-Jie Fu, Bing Chen
Due to limited spectral resolution, cochlear implants (CIs) do not convey pitch information very well. Pitch cues are important for perception of music and tonal language; it is possible that music training may improve performance in both listening tasks. In this study, we investigated music training outcomes in terms of perception of music, lexical tones, and sentences in 22 young (4.8 to 9.3 years old), prelingually deaf Mandarin-speaking CI users. Music perception was measured using a melodic contour identification (MCI) task...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Fuh-Cherng Jeng, Brandie Nance, Karen Montgomery-Reagan, Chia-Der Lin
BACKGROUND: The scalp-recorded frequency-following response (FFR) has been widely accepted in assessing the brain's processing of speech stimuli for people who speak tonal and nontonal languages. Characteristics of scalp-recorded FFRs with increasing number of sweeps have been delineated through the use of an exponential curve-fitting model in Chinese adults; however, characteristics of speech processing for people who speak a nontonal language remain unclear. PURPOSE: This study had two specific aims...
February 2018: Journal of the American Academy of Audiology
Colleen M Holt, Kathy Y S Lee, Richard C Dowell, Adam P Vogel
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess Cantonese word recognition and the discrimination of Cantonese tones with manipulated contours by child and adolescent cochlear implant (CI) users and a group of peers with normal hearing (NH). It was hypothesized that the CI users would perform more poorly than their counterparts with NH in both tasks and that CI users implanted before 2 years of age would perform better than those implanted after 2 years. Method: Forty-one participants were recruited from hospitals, schools, and kindergartens in Hong Kong: Ten CI users implanted at or before 2 years of age ("early" CI group), 13 CI users implanted after 2 years of age ("late" CI group), and 18 individuals with NH...
January 17, 2018: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research: JSLHR
Luodi Yu, Yang Zhang
A current topic in auditory neurophysiology is how brainstem sensory coding contributes to higher-level perceptual, linguistic and cognitive skills. This cross-language study was designed to compare frequency following responses (FFRs) for lexical tones in tonal (Mandarin Chinese) and non-tonal (English) language users and test the correlational strength between FFRs and behavior as a function of language experience. The behavioral measures were obtained in the Garner paradigm to assess how lexical tones might interfere with vowel category and duration judgement...
December 12, 2017: Neuropsychologia
Martin Haselmayer, Marcelo Jenny
Sentiment is important in studies of news values, public opinion, negative campaigning or political polarization and an explosive expansion of digital textual data and fast progress in automated text analysis provide vast opportunities for innovative social science research. Unfortunately, tools currently available for automated sentiment analysis are mostly restricted to English texts and require considerable contextual adaption to produce valid results. We present a procedure for collecting fine-grained sentiment scores through crowdcoding to build a negative sentiment dictionary in a language and for a domain of choice...
2017: Quality & Quantity
Stefanie Ramachers, Susanne Brouwer, Paula Fikkert
In this study, Limburgian and Dutch 2.5- to 4-year-olds and adults took part in a word learning experiment. Following the procedure employed by Quam and Swingley (2010) and Singh et al. (2014), participants learned two novel word-object mappings. After training, word recognition was tested in correct pronunciation (CP) trials and mispronunciation (MP) trials featuring a pitch change. Since Limburgian is considered a restricted tone language, we expected that the pitch change would hinder word recognition in Limburgian, but not in non-tonal Dutch listeners...
2017: Frontiers in Psychology
Bastien Intartaglia, Travis White-Schwoch, Nina Kraus, Daniele Schön
Growing evidence shows that music and language experience affect the neural processing of speech sounds throughout the auditory system. Recent work mainly focused on the benefits induced by musical practice on the processing of native language or tonal foreign language, which rely on pitch processing. The aim of the present study was to take this research a step further by investigating the effect of music training on processing English sounds by foreign listeners. We recorded subcortical electrophysiological responses to an English syllable in three groups of participants: native speakers, non-native nonmusicians, and non-native musicians...
October 3, 2017: Scientific Reports
Fei Chen, Dingchang Zheng, Yu Tsao
Vocoder simulation studies have suggested that the carrier signal type employed affects the intelligibility of vocoded speech. The present work further assessed how carrier signal type interacts with additional signal processing, namely, single-channel noise suppression and envelope dynamic range compression, in determining the intelligibility of vocoder simulations. In Experiment 1, Mandarin sentences that had been corrupted by speech spectrum-shaped noise (SSN) or two-talker babble (2TB) were processed by one of four single-channel noise-suppression algorithms before undergoing tone-vocoded (TV) or noise-vocoded (NV) processing...
September 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Leona Polyanskaya, Mikhail Ordin, Maria Grazia Busa
We investigated the independent contribution of speech rate and speech rhythm to perceived foreign accent. To address this issue we used a resynthesis technique that allows neutralizing segmental and tonal idiosyncrasies between identical sentences produced by French learners of English at different proficiency levels and maintaining the idiosyncrasies pertaining to prosodic timing patterns. We created stimuli that (1) preserved the idiosyncrasies in speech rhythm while controlling for the differences in speech rate between the utterances; (2) preserved the idiosyncrasies in speech rate while controlling for the differences in speech rhythm between the utterances; and (3) preserved the idiosyncrasies both in speech rate and speech rhythm...
September 2017: Language and Speech
Ping Tang, Nan Xu Rattanasone, Ivan Yuen, Katherine Demuth
Speech units are reported to be hyperarticulated in both infant-directed speech (IDS) and Lombard speech. Since these two registers have typically been studied separately, it is unclear if the same speech units are hyperarticulated in the same manner between these registers. The aim of the present study is to compare the effect of register on vowel and tone modification in the tonal language Mandarin Chinese. Vowel and tone productions were produced by 15 Mandarin-speaking mothers during interactions with their 12-month-old infants during a play session (IDS), in conversation with a Mandarin-speaking adult in a 70 dBA eight-talker babble noise environment (Lombard speech), and in a quiet environment (adult-directed speech)...
August 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Payam Ghaffarvand Mokari, Stefan Werner
The present study attempts to extend the research on the effects of phonetic training on the production and perception of second-language (L2) vowels. We also examined whether success in learning L2 vowels through high-variability intensive phonetic training is related to the learners' general musical abilities. Forty Azerbaijani learners of Standard Southern British English participated in a pre-test/training/post-test setting. Discrimination and production tests were used in pre- and post-tests. The participants' musical ability was evaluated through three musical aptitude tests...
August 29, 2017: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research
Y T Mao, Z M Chen, L Xu
Objective: The present study was carried out to explore the tone production ability of the Mandarin-speaking children with cochlear implants (CI) by using an artificial neural network model and to examine the potential contributing factors underlining their tone production performance. The results of this study might provide useful guidelines for post-operative rehabilitation processes of pediatric CI users. Methods: Two hundred and seventy-eight prelingually deafened children who received unilateral CI participated in this study...
August 7, 2017: Zhonghua Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke za Zhi, Chinese Journal of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Xin Wang, Juan Wang, Jeffrey G Malins
Although lexical tone is a highly prevalent phonetic cue in human languages, its role in bilingual spoken word recognition is not well understood. The present study investigates whether and how adult bilinguals, who use pitch contours to disambiguate lexical items in one language but not the other, access a tonal L1 when exclusively processing a non-tonal L2. Using the visual world paradigm, we show that Mandarin-English listeners automatically activated Mandarin translation equivalents of English target words such as 'rain' (Mandarin 'yu3'), and consequently were distracted by competitors whose segments and tones overlapped with the translations of English target words ('feather', also 'yu3' in Mandarin)...
December 2017: Cognition
Caleb Everett
This study offers evidence for an environmental effect on languages while relying on continuous linguistic and continuous ecological variables. Evidence is presented for a positive association between the typical ambient humidity of a language's native locale and that language's degree of reliance on vowels. The vowel-usage rates of over 4000 language varieties were obtained, and several methods were employed to test whether these usage rates are associated with ambient humidity. The results of these methods are generally consistent with the notion that reduced ambient humidity eventually yields a reduced reliance of languages on vowels, when compared to consonants...
2017: Frontiers in Psychology
Veronica P Y Kwok, Guo Dan, Kofi Yakpo, Stephen Matthews, Peter T Fox, Ping Li, Li-Hai Tan
The neural systems of lexical tone processing have been studied for many years. However, previous findings have been mixed with regard to the hemispheric specialization for the perception of linguistic pitch patterns in native speakers of tonal language. In this study, we performed two activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses, one on neuroimaging studies of auditory processing of lexical tones in tonal languages (17 studies), and the other on auditory processing of lexical information in non-tonal languages as a control analysis for comparison (15 studies)...
2017: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Christina Siu-Dschu Fan, Xingyu Zhu, Hans Günter Dosch, Christiane von Stutterheim, André Rupp
In tonal languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, the pitch contour of vowels discriminates lexical meaning, which is not the case in non-tonal languages such as German. Recent data provide evidence that pitch processing is influenced by language experience. However, there are still many open questions concerning the representation of such phonological and language-related differences at the level of the auditory cortex (AC). Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we recorded transient and sustained auditory evoked fields (AEF) in native Chinese and German speakers to investigate language related phonological and semantic aspects in the processing of acoustic stimuli...
2017: PloS One
Liquan Liu, René Kager
Although statistical learning has been shown to be a domain-general mechanism, its constraints, such as its interactions with perceptual development, are less well understood and discussed. This study is among the first to investigate the distributional learning of lexical pitch in non-tone-language-learning infants, exploring its interaction with language-specific perceptual attunement during the first 2years after birth. A total of 88 normally developing Dutch infants of 5, 11, and 14months were tested via a distributional learning paradigm and were familiarized on a unimodal or bimodal distribution of high-level versus high-falling tones in Mandarin Chinese...
July 4, 2017: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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