ERIC Number: ED363102
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Stress Patterns of Nonsense English Words of Cantonese-Speaking ESL Learners.
Wong, Cathy Sin Ping
CUHK Papers in Linguistics, n3 p83-111 Oct 1991
This paper explores the issue of the acquisition of English word stress by ESL learners whose mother tongue is Cantonese. Based on the theoretical framework of metrical phonology, this study examines the following parameters related to English word stress: branching versus non-branching rime structures, dominance in the metrical foot and the word tree, directionality of rule application and extrametricality. English nonsense words (N=160) were coined according to the parameters being investigated. Two groups of subjects (secondary and university students) were asked to read aloud the test words in sentence frames. The results demonstrated regular stress patterns, indicating that learners were sensitive to variables such as rime structures, syntactic categories and number of syllables. The regularity observed is consistent with the metrical framework adopted for analysis, which reflects the fact that the interlanguage system of learners can be explained in terms of the same types of principles of other natural languages. some interesting irregularities also emerged, suggesting that learners were trying to resolve an inherent difficulty in the acquisition of English word stress--learning that the metrical foot of the language is right dominant while its word tree is left dominant. (Author/JL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For the serial publication as a whole, see FL 021 540.