Phonological awareness of French rising contours in Japanese learners

TitlePhonological awareness of French rising contours in Japanese learners
Publication TypeArticle dans des actes
Année de la conférence2019
AuthorsAlbar, Rachel, and Hiyon Yoo
Nom de la conférenceInterspeech 2019

We investigate Japanese learners’ ability to produce and understand
the French continuative rising contour. In French, rising
contours can be linked to syntactic, metrical, interactional
and phrasing functions, while in Japanese, prosodic boundaries
are marked with a default low tone (L%).
Our main hypothesis is that Japanese learners’ proficiency
is linked to their phonological awareness of rising contours in
French. We expect that advanced learners will be able to correctly
produce rising contours in internal AP and IP positions,
and even distinguish between subtle differences in rising contours.
We present the results from two different experiments. To
test learners’ ability to produce rising contours, subjects were
asked to naturally reproduce utterances containing violations in
certain prosodic contours. Results show that, although the task
remains difficult, learners were able to correct non-rising contours
to varying degrees. We then conducted a sentence completion
task where subjects listened to the beginning of a statement
and chose the adequate sequence of words that followed
what they had heard. Results show that Japanese learners, no
matter their proficiency, are not able to distinguish the different
types of rising contours that are dependent on different syntactic