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Abstract

According to existing suprasegmental typologies, languages fall into three broad categories: accent, tone, and pitch-accent. Japanese has long been viewed as the poster child of the latter. The fact that Japanese and English (accent language) belong to two different prosodic systems raises three important questions:

  1. Since Japanese is suprasegmentally different from English, can L2 speakers produce English lexical stress intelligibly?
  2. Which acoustic correlate do they rely on to encode lexical stress in English?
  3. Does the prosodic strategy used interfere with intelligibility?

The current study examines these issues by measuring the stress bearing units in produced by 10 Japanese L2 speakers of English. Three acoustic correlates of lexical stress (F0, intensity, and duration) are ranked. Just Noticeable Difference (JND) thresholds based on the mean values of these correlates reveal that Japanese speakers of English encode and rank lexical stress as follows: F0 (85.71%) > Intensity (42.85%) = Duration (42.85%).

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.

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