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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Ettien Koffi

Second Advisor

Michael Schwartz

Third Advisor

Monica Devers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

acoustic correlate, lexical stress, F0, duration, intensity, intelligibility, Spanish, Salvadorian


Experiments on lexical stress in English conducted by Fry (1955, 1958) propose that the acoustic correlate strategy is F0>Duration>Intensity. The results of his findings provide good insights on American English speaker’s perception and production of lexical stress in disyllabic homographs. On the other hand, some studies conducted in Spanish lexical stress propose that the most prominent acoustic correlate is duration (Ortega-Llebaria and Prieto, 2010); another study propose that intensity is a relevant cue when marking lexical stress (Urrutia, 2007). Other studies have investigated English lexical stress produced by Spanish speakers (Edmunds, 2009). Such experiments have analyzed Spanish produced by speakers from Spain or Chile, but not from Central America. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate acoustic correlates of lexical stress in disyllabic words in El Salvadorian-accented English and their impact on intelligibility. Eight disyllabic words were analyzed using TextGrids created in Praat (Boersma & Weenink, 2013). The words were recorded from and produced by 21 Salvadorian (11 female and 10 male) speakers of English. The recordings were retrieved from the Speech Accent Archive website (Weinberger, 2015). Three acoustic correlates of lexical stress (F0, duration and intensity) were measured, and Just Noticeable Differences (JND’s) were used to judge which acoustic correlate speakers employed to mark stress. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics that provided summaries about the measurements. The results of the study showed the acoustic correlate strategy employed by female and male speakers respectively. Moreover, results yielded information that had not been foreseen at the beginning of the study, but that would be interesting to research further.