Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



Previous studies on Chinese dialect variation have mostly focused on the description of dialects, the regions where these dialects are spoken, attitudes towards dialects, and acoustic differences across dialects. The present study draws on experimental evidence concerning a vowel difference in two Taiwan Southern Min (TSM) dialects to provide more understanding on how non-contrastive, dialectal variations may affect speakers’ processing of speech. The variation of interest is a phonemic difference, [ə] and [ɔ], in the vowel inventory in two TSM dialects, in which the difference signals a lexical contrast in one dialect (e.g. [ə-a] ‘oyster’ vs. [ɔ-a] ‘taro’) but not in the other ([ɔ-a] ‘oyster, taro’). A long-term repetition-priming experiment investigating the word recognition involving the two vowels revealed a dialect effect on TSM speakers’ word recognition in accordance with prior exposure, native-ness and variant frequency. Implications of the findings are provided.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): dialectal variation; repetition priming; Taiwanese Southern Min; word recognition
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