In 1955, 1958, and 1965, Fry published three very influential papers that have revolutionized phoneticians’ understanding of the acoustic correlates of lexical stress. Fry does not only show that F0, duration, intensity, and vowel quality interact, but he also ranks them relative to each other for their individual contribution to the perception of stress. His experiments led him to rank the four correlates as follows: F0 > Duration > Intensity > Vowel Quality. I review Fry’s papers and highlight his main findings. I re-analyze his raw data on duration and intensity and re-interpret them in light of Just Noticeable Differences (JND) thresholds. The re-analysis of Fry’s empirical data has revealed that the participants in his 1955 encoded lexical stress differently depending on the stress pattern of the word. For words with a trochaic pattern (nouns), speakers relied more heavily on intensity than duration. For words with an iambic pattern (verbs), duration was relied upon more often than intensity. Furthermore, the data allows us to see clearly that there are important inter-speaker variations in the production of lexical stress.

Creative Commons License

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

Author Bio

Ettien Koffi, Ph.D., is a professor of Linguistics at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA, specializing in acoustic phonetics (Speech Intelligibility). His research interests center around sociophonetic variations in Central Minnesota English, acoustic phonetic accounts of intelligibility in L2 English, and acoustic phonetic and general description of Anyi, a West African Language spoken in Cote d'Ivoire. He is the author of four books and numerous papers covering topics as varied as syntax, translation, language planning and policy, orthography, and indigenous literacy training manuals. He can be reached at enkoffi@stcloudstate.edu.



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