BASSETTI, Benedetta: The effects of hanyu pinyin on second language phonology in learners of Chinese as a Foreign Language
In second language research, the role of the second language (L2) orthographic input is generally ignored, and its effects on L2 phonology have received little attention. In recent times, a small but growing body of research has shown that L2 orthographic representations affect L2 learners’ pronunciation (e.g., Young-Scholten, 2002). With reference to the effects of pinyin, researchers found that learners of Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) produce non-target-like Chinese phonemes and syllables because they incorrectly assimilate L2 phonemes to L1 phonemes that are represented by the same letter (Meng, 1997), or because they omit vowels that are not represented in the pinyin written form (Ye et al., 1997).
The present paper will report on a series of studies that investigated the effects of pinyin orthographic conventions on CFL learners’ L2 phonology. Effects on the phonological representations of beginner CFL learners were investigated by means of a phoneme counting task and a phoneme segmentation task. Effects on CFL learners’ pronunciation were investigated by means of reading aloud tasks involving both whole texts and characters in isolation. Results show that CFL learners’ phonological representations are affected by the orthographic conventions of hanyu pinyin; these phonological representations in turn result in the non-target-like pronunciation of some syllables. It appears that the L2 orthographic input can affect the perception and production of Chinese phonology in CFL learners.
Meng, Z. (1997). Duiwai hanyu yuyin jiaoxue zhong shiyong hanyu pinyin fang'an de jige wenti. In J. Chao (Ed.), Yuyin yanjiu yu duiwai hanyu jiaoxue. Beijing: Shanghai waiyu jiaoyu chubanshe.
Ye, J., Cui, L., & Lin, X. (1997). Waiguo xuesheng hanyu yuyin xuexi duice. Beijing, China: Yuwen Chubanshe.
Young-Scholten, M. (2002). Orthographic input in L2 phonological development. In P. Burmeister, T. Piske & A. Rohde (Eds.), An Integrated View of Language Development: Papers in Honour of Henning Wode (pp. 263-279). Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.