Brooke Sherrell

Document Type

Honors Thesis


This study investigated the acquisition of Mandarin alveolo-palatal phonemes [ʨ,ʨʰ, ɕ] by English L1 learners of Mandarin. The acquisition of these phonemes is often difficult for English speakers as the alveolo-palatal place of articulation is not found in English, but this acquisition has not been extensively studied. This study consisted of two perception tasks and one production task. The first perception task was an AX discrimination task to determine participants’ ability to distinguish between Mandarin and English phonemes. This task was followed by an identification task. The production task collected auditory data, which was analyzed with Praat and compared to two native Mandarin speakers’ production. The results of the perception tasks showed learners had difficulty identifying the [ʨʰ] phoneme but not the [ʨ] and [ɕ] phonemes, confirming a previous study. The acoustic analysis confirmed the hypothesis that learners' production of the alveolo-palatal phonemes was not native-like.

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.