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A psychoacoustic methodology is used to investigate lexical stress encoding by 15 Vietnamese-Accented English (VAE) speakers. In this framework, Just Noticeable Difference (JND) thresholds in F0/pitch, intensity, and duration are used to investigate the strategy that speakers rely on to produce lexical stress. The key finding for VAE speakers is that they rank the three acoustic correlates as follows: F0 (67.61%) > Intensity (54.28%) > Duration (31.42%). According to Nguyen and Ingram (2005) and Nguyen (2017), this hierarchy mirrors the strategy that Vietnamese speakers rely on to encode tone in their native language. Transferring their native prosodic strategy into English affords them only 56.19% of prosodic accuracy. This finding is based on an instrumental analysis of 315 syllable tokens (15 speakers x 7 words x 3 correlates). The data also provides us with the opportunity to examine ancillary issues such as any putative correlation that might exist between length of residence (LOR), age of onset (AOO), and accuracy of lexical stress encoding. The paper concludes with pedagogical implications and applications to help raise the overall intelligibility of VAE.



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