A psychological study of Cantonese tone confusion based on computer experimental data

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Fei Li


The paper is based on computer experimental data and aims at investigating the pronunciation of Cantonese tones by 40 participants in Guancheng. Accordingly, three methods, namely, the preparatory pronunciation, pronunciation experiment and perception experiment were applied to examine the tones. The methods correspond to three levels of psychological identification. As the result, confusions of Cantonese tones were summarized and the related reasons were analyzed. The psychological identification of different levels was found to show different trends in the confusion of the tone. Moreover, according to the preparatory experiment, as shallow level psychological identity, the similarity of the adjustment and modulation can be argued to be the internal reason of the confusion. As the medium level psychological identity, the pronunciation experiment suggested that the weakening of socialized pronunciation can lead to tone confusion. Finally, as the deep psychological identity, the experimental study of perception demonstrated the perceptual similarity as the direct psychological motivation of the confusion..

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