The current paper explores the acoustic correlates of polite speech in Chinese to examine the similarities and differences of phonetic features contributing to the conveyance of politeness between Korean and Chinese. Building on the previous research on different levels of politeness in Korean, Experiment 1 investigated the phonetic characteristics of deferential and non-deferential Chinese utterances produced by eight native Chinese speakers. The results showed that F0, intensity, H1-H2, HNR and duration played important roles in distinguishing deferential from non-deferential speech, which conform to the patterns shown in Korean. Experiment 2 further assessed deferential and non-deferential speech in Korean produced by Chinese learners of Korean under the assumption that Chinese learners will express deference in the L2 without much difficulty due to the shared phonetic knowledge in the L1. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of cross-cultural multimodal politeness and the implicit acquisition of sociopragmatic knowledge in the L2.
2. Experiment 1: Chinese production by native Chinese speakers
3. Experiment 2: Korean production by experienced Chinese speakers
4. Discussion and conclusion