The acquisition of Mandarin wh-question intonation by American English-speaking learners of Mandarin
This study aims to shed light on the general question of how second-language learners acquire intonational phonology through the window of the acquisition of Mandarin question intonation by American English speak- ers; specifically, this study will focus on wh-question intonation. Ladd (2008: 227) proposes that wh-question intonation patterns fall into two categories: languages in which stress patterns in wh-question are the same as stress patterns in other types of statements, and languages in which the neutral location of the accent in wh- questions is on the wh-word. English falls into the first category, and Mandarin into the second…
Because the two languages are typologically distinct, it is expected that L1 transfer can be identified easily; that is, it is expected that American English speakers would draw on the intonational patterns of English when determining where the focus of a wh-question lies and place the stress accordingly. However, the location of the stress would differ from expected Mandarin patterns.