Lexical tone processing by monolingual and bilingual speakers of tone and non-tone languages

  • Author / Creator
    Danielson, Donald Kyle
  • This study tests early Chinese-English bilinguals’ perception of Thai lexical tone. Lexical tone is a feature that is used contrastively in Chinese but not in English. Chinese-learning infants exhibit native-like treatment of Thai tonal contours, while English learners exhibit non-native perceptual behaviour (Mattock & Burnham, 2006). However, early Chinese-English bilingual adults in the present study do not perform differently on the task than do monolingual English speakers with no tone language experience. Late Chinese-English bilinguals perform more accurately than both of the other groups. Early bilinguals do exhibit evidence of Chinese language experience, as their within-task processing strategies more closely resemble those of late bilingual speakers than those of English monolinguals. Developmental and biographical explanations for the behaviour of the early bilinguals are explored through the use of a language proficiency questionnaire, and the role of bilingual dominance is analyzed in relation to performance on this task.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Tucker, Benjamin (Linguistics)
    • Paradis, Johanne (Linguistics)
    • Nicoladis, Elena (Psychology)