Production of Lexical Stress in Non-Native Speakers of American English: Kinematic Correlates of Stress and Transfer PurposeTo assess the influence of second language (L2) proficiency on production characteristics of rhythmic sequences in the L1 (Bengali) and L2 (English), with emphasis on linguistic transfer. One goal was to examine, using kinematic evidence, how L2 proficiency influences the production of iambic and trochaic words, focusing on temporal and ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2011
Production of Lexical Stress in Non-Native Speakers of American English: Kinematic Correlates of Stress and Transfer
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rahul Chakraborty
    Texas State University—San Marcos
    Texas State University—San Marcos
  • Lisa Goffman
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Correspondence to Rahul Chakraborty: rc39@txstate.edu
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Karen Forrest
    Associate Editor: Karen Forrest×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   June 01, 2011
Production of Lexical Stress in Non-Native Speakers of American English: Kinematic Correlates of Stress and Transfer
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 821-835. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0018)
History: Received February 2, 2009 , Revised August 27, 2009 , Accepted October 24, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 821-835. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0018)
History: Received February 2, 2009; Revised August 27, 2009; Accepted October 24, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeTo assess the influence of second language (L2) proficiency on production characteristics of rhythmic sequences in the L1 (Bengali) and L2 (English), with emphasis on linguistic transfer. One goal was to examine, using kinematic evidence, how L2 proficiency influences the production of iambic and trochaic words, focusing on temporal and spatial aspects of prosody. A second goal was to assess whether prosodic structure influences judgment of foreign accent.

MethodTwenty Bengali–English bilingual individuals, 10 with low proficiency in English and 10 with high proficiency in English, and 10 monolingual English speakers, participated. Lip and jaw movements were recorded while the bilingual participants produced Bengali and English words embedded in sentences. Lower lip movement amplitude and duration were measured in trochaic and iambic words. Six native English listeners judged the nativeness of the bilingual speakers.

ResultsEvidence of L1–L2 transfer was observed through duration but not amplitude cues. More proficient L2 speakers varied duration to mark iambic stress. Perceptually, the high-proficiency group received relatively higher native-like accent ratings. Trochees were judged as more native than iambs.

ConclusionsEven in the face of L1–L2 lexical stress transfer, nonnative speakers demonstrated knowledge of prosodic contrasts. Movement duration appears to be more amenable than amplitude to modifications.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to Laurence Leonard, Christine Weber-Fox, and Janna Berlin for invaluable assistance with many phases of this work. We extend a special thanks to Karen Forrest. This research was supported by National Institute of Deafness and other Communicative Disorders Grant DC04826.
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