Tone and music processing in Chinese

Authored by: Caicai Zhang

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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In tonal languages like Chinese, pitch is used to systematically differentiate word meanings. The use of pitch is not unique to language. In music, pitch also plays a fundamental role. Presumably due to the substantial overlap in pitch usage, cross-domain transfer effects between tonal language experience and musical expertise on pitch processing have been widely observed. This chapter will provide an overview of the behavioural evidence for such transfer and discuss the neural mechanisms that likely support the behavioural transfer effects to shed light on the broader question of how language and music are organized in the human brain.

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