Reciprocal perception of Chinese and Korean affricates and fricatives

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3272-3272
Journal / PublicationJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2012


The distinction between lax and tense sounds, as well as aspiration, is employed in classifying Korean affricates and fricatives. Affricates and fricative in Chinese are mainly distinguished in places and aspiration. Little attention has been given on perception of these two types of consonants. This study investigates reciprocal perception of Chinese and Korean affricates and fricatives, by examining how native speakers of the two languages identify each other's consonants at syllable-initial positions. Predictions are made based on how non-native sounds may be assimilated into the native system. First, tense and lax Korean affricates and alveolar fricative may pose difficulty in consonant labeling for Chinese listeners. Korean alveolar fricatives may be perceived as the aspirated alveolar fricative by Chinese listeners. Second, Chinese retroflex and palate-alveolar affricates may be identified as belonging to same categories by Korean speakers. Third, Chinese alveolar and retroflex fricatives may be perceived as same categories when preceding vowel /i/. Predictions are confirmed in most cases. It is also found that vowel contexts play a role in consonant labeling. Assessment of current speech perception models is also discussed using our findings.

Research Area(s)

  • consonant perception, Korean, Chinese, fricative, affricate