Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Duration as a Cue to Stress and Accent in Tunisian Arabic, Native English, and L2 English

Nadia Bouchhioua

L’Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis, Université de 7 Novembre à Carthage, Tunisia

This paper investigates the role of duration in signaling stress and accent in Southern British English (SBE), Tunisian Arabic (TA), and English as produced by Tunisian speakers (L2 English). Results show that unlike English, where duration is a robust correlate of both stress and accent, Tunisian Arabic has shown a lack of durational involvement in lexical stress. Duration, in this language, was found to be a cue to accent only. This fact did not affect the production of English lexical stress by Tunisian speakers who produced significant durational contrasts between stressed and unstressed constituents. In addition, these speakers seem to have internalized the positive interaction existing between syllable position and focus related lengthening in English and successfully mimicked it. Their production of English segments and words were, however, consistently longer than native production, which may reveal their non-nativeness.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bouchhioua, Nadia (2008): "Duration as a cue to stress and accent in tunisian Arabic, native English, and L2 English", In SP-2008, 535-538.