Mentor: Dr. Edith Kaan
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"The University Scholars Program provides an exciting opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in research design, methodology, and execution. Throughout my involvement in the program, I hope to obtain skills and experience to prepare and motivate me for graduate education while making a significant contribution to my field."
Psycholinguistics regarding lexical tone discrimination
Computational linguistics with a focus on semantic processes
University of Florida Brain & Language Lab
- Orlando Health's South Seminole Hospital, Longwood, Florida
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading novels
- Watching Netflix
- Playing tennis (poorly)
The Effect of Tone Production in Lexical Tone Discrimination Training
Pitch differentiation is used in many languages to mark speech. Many spoken languages use intonation to convey emphasis and other paralinguistic information, as shown by the rising pitch inherent in many English questions. Tonal languages, like Mandarin Chinese, use pitch differentiation at the syllabic level to convey lexical information. Native speakers of non-tonal languages are often less accurate when asked to discriminate between foreign lexical tones than are native speakers of tonal languages (Wayland and Guion, 2004), but can improve from short-term laboratory training. This study compares two different methods of lexical tone perception training: perception-only and production. All participants will complete a hearing test, a musical aptitude test (AMMA), an auditory working memory test, and a Mandarin Chinese lexical tone discrimination training program. Participants will be randomly assigned to a training group. Each training program will last approximately one hour. In the perception-only training, participants will hear two stimuli back to back and be asked to submit via button-box whether the tones are the same or different. They will then get feedback, hear the first stimulus again, and move on to the next pairing with the button-box. In production training, the participants will undergo the same training but be asked to imitate the first tone to progress to the next pairing instead of using the button-box. These productions will be recorded using a digital voice recorder. The training program will record the participants’ accuracy and reaction time. These data will be compared with the results of the musical aptitude test, the memory test, and between the three groups to analyze the effects of production on participants’ ability to discriminate between tones This project may have implications for teaching tonal languages to speakers without other tonal language experience.