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Volume 19 Number 1, Spring 2022, Pages 1-397   

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No Prosody, No Emotion: Affective Prosody by Chinese EFL Learners

    Zepeng Wang & Yansheng Mao

The current paper intended to investigate the performance of affective prosody by Chinese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. More specifically, the current study examined and compared aspects contributing to perceived vocal affect in the speech of Chinese EFL learners and native English speakers (hereafter NSs). The data were collected from 20 university students who took part in two recording sessions designed by the authors. In comparison to previous studies on L2 acquisition of English prosody, this research offers a detailed description of the performance of affective prosody in the speech of Chinese EFL learners. The results show that, for the majority of Chinese EFL learners, their pitch range and vowel duration are narrower and shorter than for NSs, all of which contribute to their low scores for affective involvement. In addition, a number of pedagogical suggestions have been proposed by this study, which will help Chinese EFL learners to deal with the prosodic problems they encounter when speaking English.

Keywords: Chinese EFL learners, acquisition, affective prosody, pitch range, vowel duration