4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Cross-Language Effects of Lexical Stress in Word Recognition: The Case of Arabic English Bilinguals

Sami Boudelaa, Mehdi Meftah

Université Paris, Laboratoire de Phonétique, Paris, France

Two lexical decison experiments examined the effects of lexical stress on word processing in Arabic-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1, Arabic and English minimal stress pairs sreved as primes either to semantically related targets, to targets related to the second member of the pair, or to control targets. English minimal stress pairs were processed like homophones, but Arabic ones were not. In experiment 2, the effects of mis-stressing Strong-Weak (SW) and Weak-Strong (WS) common words (ie., words that are not members of a minimal stress pair) was investigated. Only realizing a /SW/ word in a /WS/ stress pattern was adverse in English. In Arabic, however, mis-stressing had an adverse effect both in the case of SW and WS words. Taken together, the results suggest (a) that the time course of lexical stress effects are language dependent and (b) that Arabic-English bilinguals function monolingually with respect to lexical stress information. These resuslts are explained in terms of the asymmetry underlying the phonological structures of the two languages.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Boudelaa, Sami / Meftah, Mehdi (1996): "Cross-language effects of lexical stress in word recognition: the case of Arabic English bilinguals", In ICSLP-1996, 121-124.