Publication |Sophia Linguistica

Perception of Mandarin Liquids by Japanese Learners


Yongzhe Peng


To examine the auditory perception of Mandarin liquids /l/ and /r/ by Japanese learners,
two experiments were conducted in the present study. In the discrimination task, Mandarin
/l/ and /r/ were discriminated by Japanese learners to a high degree of accuracy. In the
identification task, influence of phonetic environment was observed: the rhotic vowel,
a type of coda in Mandarin, was considered to confuse the listeners perceptually. The
results indicated that even though the learners discriminate Mandarin liquids excellently,
it is possible that they are not able to recognize them accurately, because of being at
early stages or their English acquisition, which suggests a difference between phonetic
perception and phonological perception. The predictions by theoretical models of crosslanguage
perception and production were also discussed, involving both previous and
present studies.