First Advisor

Carolyn Quam

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Speech and Hearing Sciences and University Honors


Speech and Hearing Sciences


Language attrition, Tone (Phonetics), English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Mandarin dialects, Vowels, Bilingualism, Speech perception




This thesis is a continuation and expansion of Quam and Creel's 2017 publication that English dominant native Mandarin speakers showed an attrition effect in their ability to process tones. Experiment one tests a new set of research participants in the existing experimental paradigm. This experiment confirmed and solidified the findings in the original research paper. Quam and Creel offered two explanations for this finding. One is that lexical tones are more prone to attrition because of their inherent properties. Explanation two is that consistent use of English vowel perceptual categories reinforces Mandarin vowel perceptual categories. Experiment two tests Mandarin-English bilinguals on vowels using articulations that are non-phonemic in English. The lack of English dominant bilinguals and small sample size overall resulted in an inconclusive finding.


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