Use of Lexical Stress during Oral Reading among Japanese EFL Learners


The purpose of the present study is to examine second language (L2) oral reading with a focus on lexical stress. We conducted oral reading tasks to investigate whether 14 Japanese learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) read words aloud with different lexical stress (one- or two- stress words) with appropriate stress assignment, similar to a comparison group of 14 native English speakers, in order to see whether EFL learners, who have fewer verbal input and output opportunities, assign the proper stress(es) in oral reading contexts. The participants read 18 pairs of four-syllable one- and two-stress words both in isolation and in sentence context conditions, and the whole word duration, syllable duration, and syllable intensity were analyzed. The results showed that both groups of readers (1) read two-stress words longer than one-stress words and (2) read stressed syllables longer than unstressed syllables with appropriate stress assignment. Our findings suggest that intermediate EFL learners can recognize and manipulate L2 prosodic information, even though their L1 does not possess the property. Future directions for L2 oral reading research development are discussed.

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Yoshikawa, L. and Leung, C. Y. (2014) Use of Lexical Stress during Oral Reading among Japanese EFL Learners. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 573-584. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.45050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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