This paper highlights the findings in the field of tonal phonology which, along with some uncontroversial claims from general linguistics, can contribute to a general revision of the model for teaching Standard Chinese to learners whose mother tongue is non-tonal (from now on NTLs). It is proposed to introduce tones in disyllables, adopting the distinction between prepausal and non-prepausal syllables, therefore presenting T3 in its quantitatively more significant occurrence, i.e. as a level (low) tone. In this way the tonal inventory can be organized as a set of discrete categories related to three functional oppositions: level vs. contour, subdivided into two further divisions, i.e. high/low and falling/rising, respectively. The second part of this proposal presents the main data on the interaction between the supralaryngeal articulation and Mandarin tone production (Torng 2001, Hole & Hu 20004), deriving from the experimental studies on the EMA technique. Based on such framework, it is suggested that NTLSs must be encouraged to be aware of the dynamics taking place in the vocal tract during tonal production. For instance being aware that the lowering of the jaw is related with T3 and T4 could help learners to develop motor-level automatisms for tone production. Moreover, in the spirit of the hypothesis of vowel-tone interdependency (Jakobson 1962, Yip 2002), it is underlined that the internal observation of the articulatory dynamics can be more effective if combined with the grave/acute contrasts available in L1 phonological inventory. Based on these observations, some pedagogical implication are discussed, suggesting that the resolution of such L1 grave/acute sequence (as Italian: è-e /è-é/ ‘is-and’; ho-o /ò-ó/ ‘have-or’) could trigger the production of the falling/rising contrast. In other words, it is highlighted that the (partial) overlapping between open/closed vowels and T4/T2 can be used as the foundation for NTLSs’ to start processing tones “in a linguistically relevant way”.

From Phonological Studies to Teaching Mandarin Tone. Some Perspectives on the Revision of the Tonal Inventory

Sparvoli, Carlotta
2017

Abstract

This paper highlights the findings in the field of tonal phonology which, along with some uncontroversial claims from general linguistics, can contribute to a general revision of the model for teaching Standard Chinese to learners whose mother tongue is non-tonal (from now on NTLs). It is proposed to introduce tones in disyllables, adopting the distinction between prepausal and non-prepausal syllables, therefore presenting T3 in its quantitatively more significant occurrence, i.e. as a level (low) tone. In this way the tonal inventory can be organized as a set of discrete categories related to three functional oppositions: level vs. contour, subdivided into two further divisions, i.e. high/low and falling/rising, respectively. The second part of this proposal presents the main data on the interaction between the supralaryngeal articulation and Mandarin tone production (Torng 2001, Hole & Hu 20004), deriving from the experimental studies on the EMA technique. Based on such framework, it is suggested that NTLSs must be encouraged to be aware of the dynamics taking place in the vocal tract during tonal production. For instance being aware that the lowering of the jaw is related with T3 and T4 could help learners to develop motor-level automatisms for tone production. Moreover, in the spirit of the hypothesis of vowel-tone interdependency (Jakobson 1962, Yip 2002), it is underlined that the internal observation of the articulatory dynamics can be more effective if combined with the grave/acute contrasts available in L1 phonological inventory. Based on these observations, some pedagogical implication are discussed, suggesting that the resolution of such L1 grave/acute sequence (as Italian: è-e /è-é/ ‘is-and’; ho-o /ò-ó/ ‘have-or’) could trigger the production of the falling/rising contrast. In other words, it is highlighted that the (partial) overlapping between open/closed vowels and T4/T2 can be used as the foundation for NTLSs’ to start processing tones “in a linguistically relevant way”.
Key Issues in Chinese as a Second Language Research
81
100
Sparvoli, Carlotta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/782420
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