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	abstract     = {Earlier studies on the perception of Chinese tones have almost exclusively used 1-syllable
words for the listening tests (Kiriloff, 1969; Chuang, 1971; Klatt, 1973; Gandour, 1978). In
these earlier studies the misperception between tone 2 and tone 3 has been shown to be the
most common. However, no studies that we have found have looked at the perception of 2-
syllable words besides Chuang (1971), who only used nonsense words.
By tradition the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language has been concentrated on training
of perception and production of tones since adult students have been shown to show particular
difficulties in perceiving their difference. Experienced teachers have through tests established
that this assumption is not valid when it comes to the so-called static tone. When it comes to
communicating in Chinese and to be able to use the separate tones it is not enough to know
the difference in 1-syllable words especially since most modern words in standard Chinese
contains 2 or more. Guo (1993) has shown that the more syllables a word contains the higher
ratio of misperceived tones.
So far, no investigations for Swedish students have been performed. A possible hypothesis
could be that Swedish listeners would perform better due to the Swedish grave and acute
accents. By asking experienced teachers in Sweden, we knew that this should not be the case
however. The general impressions from teachers are also that Swedish students have the
largest proportion misperceptions between tone 2 and 3. To test this we conducted a listening
test on 27 native speakers of Swedish (9 bilingual Chinese speakers with native ability in
Swedish) on 25 Chinese 2-syllable lexical words with 15 different tone combinations. One
male and one female native speaker of Chinese pronounced the words in isolation. The words
were taken from a random number of 2-syllable glossary. Each speaker repeated the words
once with 1 seconds pause in between the repetition and then 2 seconds pause before the new
word. The audio was presented in high quality headphones in the student language lab at the
University of Gothenburg. The participants were all second semester students of Chinese and
the listening test was also an exam, which made the participants wanting to perform as well as
possible. If they wanted they could repeat the sequence as many times as they until satisfied
with their answer.
The results show that produced tone 1 and tone 2 are confused more than 3 and 4 (tone 4 more
than 3, see figure 1). However, the distribution of misperceptions seems to be rather equally
distributed if we exclude the static tone (below called 0) in contradiction to earlier studies
claiming misperception mostly between tone 2 and 3. However, we also notice that certain
types of syllables containing different vowels are misperceived differently. The next step is to
figure out if certain syllable nucleuses are more misperceived than others and in certain
positions. These conclusions can in the future lead to new approaches when it comes to
teaching students production and perception of tones.},
	booktitle    = {Proceedings of the Fourth European Conference on Tone and Intonation (TIE4)},
	author       = {Hu, Guohua and Lindh, Jonas},
	year         = {2010},