Awareness of L2 American English Word Stress: Implications for Teaching Speakers of Indo-Aryan Languages

Author: Dr. Abdul Malik Abbasi

Keywords: Phonetics, Phonology, Stress, Lexical, Experimental

DOI: 10.5539/ijel.v8n3p101

This study aims to investigate the word stress placement in English and Sindhi words in learners from
Indo-Aryan language and American English backgrounds. Since correct placement of word stress is key for L2
English intelligibility, and it is known that native language background affects English language learners’ word
stress perception and production. The study explores English language learners’ intuition through behavioral data
from the native speakers of Sindhi and American native speakers to compare their awareness of word stress in
L1 and L2. It further investigates learner’s stress patterns by measuring their reports of word stress location in
their Sindhi and in their L2 English. There were twenty native speakers (10 from Sindh, Pakistan-10 from
Illinois State, America) who were recruited from the location in their countries. Results of three experiments
show that Sindhi native speakers have less awareness of stress location in their native language than native
English controls, and this effect carries into their L2 English. Teachers of Sindhi-speaking students should be
prepared to provide explicit training on word stress.