Nonlinguistic factors that affect the degree of foreign accent in second language mandarin


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Previous research findings have established that a number of nonlinguistic factors can influence the strength of perceived foreign accent in second language (L2) speech. However, the majority of past studies have predominantly considered foreign accent of Indo-European languages, notably English. Therefore, it remains unknown whether the same factors influence foreign accent in other languages, such as Mandarin. This article reports findings from a study on nonlinguistic factors affecting the degree of foreign accent in Mandarin as an L2. Seventy L2 learners of Mandarin Chinese recorded speech samples and completed language background questionnaires. Speech samples were rated by 15 native Mandarin speakers for the degree of foreign accent on a 9-point Likert scale. Stepwise multiple regression analysis resulted in a 3-predictor model of pronunciation accuracy: self-rating of foreign accent, Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (HSK) proficiency level, and motivational reasons. Results suggest that (1) foreign accent in L2 Mandarin may not be affected by the same factors as in previous L2 accent studies and (2) the concepts of accentedness and comprehensibility may be more intricately linked in lexical tone languages such as Mandarin, in comparison to nontonal languages. These findings have wider implications for the field of L2 acquisition, which is dominated by studies of L2 English.
先前的研究發現有一些非語言學因素會影響到第二語言學習時產生的所能感知到的外國口音強度。然而,過去的大多數研究主要關注印歐語系,特別是英語的外國口音。因此,那些在其他語言中影響外國口音的因素是否同樣影響普通話,尚未可知。本文將報告一項以普通話為第二語言,關注非語言學因素對外國口音影響的研究結果。70 位普通話漢語學習者錄下了語音樣本,並完成了語言背景調查問卷。由 15 位普通話母語者根據一個 1–9 分外國口音程度李克特量表,對語音樣本進行打分。逐步多元回歸分析得到了一個發音準確性的三因數預測模型:外國口音的自評,漢語水平考試的能力水平,動機理由。研究結果表明:1) 在普通話二語學習中,影響外國口音的因素可能與先前二語口音研究所發現因素有所不同;2) 與非聲調語言相比,在如同普通話這樣的聲調語言中,口音和可理解性兩者間的關聯更為複雜。本研究的發現在被英語二語學習主導的第二語言習得的研究領域中有更為廣泛的應用。 Copyright © 2019 by T.T. Ng Chinese Language Research Centre, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-99
JournalStudies in Chinese Linguistics
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


Freeborn, L., & Rogers, J. (2019). Nonlinguistic factors that affect the degree of foreign accent in second language mandarin. Studies in Chinese Linguistics, 40(1), 75-99. doi: 10.2478/scl-2019-0003


  • Foreign accent
  • Second language
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Comprehensibility
  • 外國口音
  • 第二語言
  • 普通話
  • 可理解性
  • Alt. title: 影響第二語言普通話外國口音程度的非語言學因素


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