False geminates as an effective transitional strategy for Cantonese learners of Japanese

Kwing Lok Albert LEE, Xiaolin LI, Peggy MOK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

This article revisits Lee and Mok (2018) and examines how the Cantonese learners in the study produced second language (L2) Japanese short vs. long consonants which are absent in their first language (L1). Specifically, our goal is to find out whether these learners were substituting real geminates (i.e. long consonants) with the improvised strategy of an unreleased stop coda + homorganic initial consonant sequence (like in the phrase cat tail), which would not have been detectable with the durational ratios in the original study. We analysed the mean intensity of the words sassa, sesse, and sosso, to investigate whether the learners were producing a [t̚]+/s/ cluster, presumably drawn from their L1. The results showed that the beginner group were indeed using this strategy, whereas the advanced learners were largely producing a genuinely geminated /s/ akin to the native speakers. The use of this transitional strategy was also speech-rate dependent, with more cases of /t/-insertion in slower speech for both learner groups. We conclude that (1) although having L1 false geminates does not enable beginners to readily acquire genuine L2 geminates, the latter can be learned after enough exposure, and (2) during this transition, Cantonese learners can draw on L1 phonotactic knowledge to improvise creative and effective strategies to attain L2 durational targets. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
JournalSecond Language Research
Early online dateOct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2022

Citation

Lee, A., Li, X., & Mok, P. (2022). False geminates as an effective transitional strategy for Cantonese learners of Japanese. Second Language Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/02676583221128530

Keywords

  • Cantonese
  • Consonant quantity
  • Japanese

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