Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

Identification and Discrimination of Word Stress by Taiwanese EFL Learners

Shu-chen Ou

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan

This paper investigates Taiwanese EFL learners' identification and discrimination of English word stress when the cue of pitch is manipulated. Forty Taiwanese EFL learners and twenty English controls participated in two perceptual experiments. In Experiment 1, the participants were asked to identify a perceived non-word when its stressed syllable was realized phonetically either (a) in higher pitch, or (b) in a low rising pitch contour. In Experiment 2, they were asked to discriminate a given paired stimuli with either identical or different stress pattern(s). The results show that while all of the subjects had little difficulty in identifying word stress in the condition (a), they all had great difficulty in doing so in the condition (b). However, these subjects showed substantial sensitivity to stress differences in the condition (b) and their perception was psycho-acoustically based whereas the English native controls' was more categorical. The findings suggest that Taiwanese speakers are still sensitive to the stress variations of English in spite of the lack of lexical stress contrasts in Taiwanese Mandarin.

Keywords: prosody perception, L2 lexical stress, tone-stress interlanguage

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ou, Shu-chen (2010): "Identification and discrimination of word stress by Taiwanese EFL learners", In SP-2010, paper 962.