5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

A Contrastive Study of Lexical Stress Placement in Singapore English and British English

Ee Ling Low (1), Esther Grabe (2)

(1) Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
(2) University of Cambridge, UK

Singapore English and British English have been claimed to differ in lexical stress placement. Examples cited in the literature involve polysyllabic words such as 'hopelessly' and compounds such as 'blackboard'. Such words are stressed word-initially in BE, but are said to be stressed word-finally in SE. Two observations lead us to explore the claim that SE and BE differ in lexical stress placement. Firstly, observations about stress differences between SE and BE are based solely on auditory impressions by British English listeners. Acoustic evidence is not available. Secondly, the auditory evidence comes from realisations of test words in citation form, i.e. in nuclear, phrase-final position. If Singapore English has more phrase-final lengthening than British English, then this may account for the suggested differences in lexical stress placement. In the present paper, we investigate the acoustic evidence for the suggested cross-varietal difference.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Low, Ee Ling / Grabe, Esther (1998): "A contrastive study of lexical stress placement in singapore English and british English", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0098.