The influence of language background and second language phonetics training on the perception of lexical stress in a second language

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Language background and second language (L2) training both have been found to contribute to L2 lexical stress perception. To explore their relative contributions, a lexical stress perception task was administered to a total of 129 university students of different language backgrounds. A group of 62 monolingual English-speaking students in the U.S.A. and 67 English-as-a-foreign-language students in Chile were asked to identify lexical stress in trochees and iambs. Chileans with previous phonetics training performed better than Chileans without the training and performed as well as their U.S. peers. U.S. participants and those Chileans without previous phonetics training performed better with trochees than iambs, but those Chileans with L2 phonetics training performed similarly with both stress patterns. Spanish (L1) ability and English (L2) phonetics training explained variance, but English (L2) ability did not. Results suggest that participants with previous L2 phonetics training developed a general skill to detect lexical stress, while those without such training merely transferred Spanish stress perception to English, which was beneficial because Spanish and English stress patterns are similar for disyllabic words. Pedagogical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number080
Pages (from-to)80-103
Number of pages24
JournalRevista Signos
Volume53
Issue number102
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • EFL learning
  • L2 classroom
  • L2 lexical stress perception
  • L2 phonetics training

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