The role of cross-linguistic stress pattern frequency and word similarity on the acquisition of English stress pattern by native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese


  • Amanda Post Silveira Leiden University



This is a preliminary study in which we investigate the acquisition of English as second language (L2[1]) word stress by native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese (BP, L1[2]). In this paper, we show results of a multiple choice forced choice perception test in which native speakers of American English and native speakers of Dutch judged the production of English words bearing pre-final stress that were both cognates and non-cognates with BP words. The tokens were produced by native speakers of American English and by Brazilians that speak English as a second language. The results have shown that American and Dutch listeners were consistent in their judgments on native and non-native stress productions and both speakers' groups produced variation in stress in relation to the canonical pattern. However, the variability found in American English points to the prosodic patterns of English and the variability found in Brazilian English points to the stress patterns of Portuguese. It occurs especially in words whose forms activate neighboring similar words in the L1. Transfer from the L1 appears both at segmental and prosodic levels in BP English.

[1] L2 stands for second language, foreign language, target language.

[2] L1 stands for first language, mother tongue, source language.