NOZAWA Toshitaka Hokkaido Univ., Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Professor., 言語文化部, 教授 (60113601)
YAMADA Kitchijiro Hokkaido Univ., Graduate School of International Media and Communication, Professor., 大学院・国際広報メディア研究科, 教授 (40091516)
TAKENAKA Nozomi Hokkaido Univ., Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Associate Professor., 言語文化部, 助教授 (20227044)
FUJITAKA Naomasa Hokkaido Univ., Professor Emeritus., 名誉教授 (00000589)
SUGA Yasuo Hokkai Gakuen Univ., School of Humanities., Professor., 人文学部, 教授 (30154438)
|Budget Amount *help
¥10,900,000 (Direct Cost : ¥10,900,000)
Fiscal Year 2000 : ¥1,500,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,500,000)
Fiscal Year 1999 : ¥1,900,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,900,000)
Fiscal Year 1998 : ¥7,500,000 (Direct Cost : ¥7,500,000)
This three-year research project focused on segmental and prosodic characteristics of Japanese words and utterances produced by native speakers of English, German, French, Russian, Chinese and Korean. The common research themes include the acoustic features of the vowel /u/ with their formant configurations, double consonants ("sokuon") and the syllabic nasal (/N/ "hatsuon"), and the occurrence and non-occurrence of vowel devoicing in relevant environments. Prosodic features of non-native speakers' data are also acoustically analyzed in terms of pitch contours, pitch range, accent, length, pause and energy. The contrastive acoustic analyses have yielded a number of interesting results. Among the findings are :
(1) the Japanese vowel u/ has a wider distribution than other vowels, as predicted, both among native and nonnative speakers, with the second formant structure fluctuating between a relatively low value (approximately 1100Hz) and an intermediate value (1800Hz or higher), depending
on the phonetic environment, thus indirectly endorsing that the Japanese vowel /u/ has at least two positional variants or allophones-a high back unrounded variant [*] and high mid unrounded variant [*].
(2) Some non-native speakers, particularly Korean speakers, tend to obscure the difference between double/long consonants and single consonants, as in kite/kitte and itai/ittai contrasts.
(3) With prosodic features, speakers of Western languages such as English, German, Russian and French tend to show narrower pitch ranges than Japanese, thus producing more or less monotonous or flat intonation.
(4) Part of the supposedly "foreign accent" often results from the wrong accentual pattern (s) in Japanese utterances, with misplaced high-pitched word-initial accent pattern, among others.
(5) In many cases negative phonological transfer from the speaker's native language seems to a critical factor in "foreign accents, " although definitive evidence is not always available as to whether the features are due to general tendencies or idiolectal variations or idiosyncrasies. Less