An Empirical Study on the Acquisition of English Rising Tone by Chinese EFL Learners

Wenkai Chen


Intonation is the melody and soul of speech, and plays an important role in oral communication. Nevertheless, the acquisition of English intonation by Chinese EFL learners is far from being satisfactory. It is found by empirical study that the main problems existing in acquiring English rising tone are improper placement of nucleus stress, failure to control the contour of pitch of nucleus, replacement of rising tone by falling one, epenthesis of extra central vowel after the consonant with which the nucleus or tail ends. The acquisition of rising tone is influenced by lack of intonation knowledge, poor acquisition of stress, differences between English and Chinese tone patterns, etc. One key solution is to imbue the learners with knowledge of intonation by utilizing modern phonological technologies to make possible the multimodal phonological acquisition of intonation so as to improve the learners’ ability of perceiving and producing rising tone.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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