The acquisition of English lexical stress by Cantonese-English bilingual children at 2;06 and 3;0

Jingwen Li, Peggy P.K. Mok


This study investigates the acquisition of English lexical stress by Cantonese-English bilingual children at the age of 2;06 and 3;0 respectively, comparing them with the English monolingual peers. Research on early bilingual phonological acquisition often focuses on segmental level. Few studies are available when it concerns prosodic features, especially in children speaking non-Indo-European languages. This study examines an important prosodic feature, lexical stress, in Cantonese-English bilingual children. The results showed that there is delayed acquisition of English lexical stress among the bilingual children, as reflected in less contrastive syllable duration and peak F0, possibly due to a lack of lexical stress in Cantonese, a typical syllable-timed language. This study helps to understand the bilingual interaction of two distinctive prosodic systems, and broaden our knowledge about early bilingual prosodic development.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-125

Cite as: Li, J., Mok, P.P. (2014) The acquisition of English lexical stress by Cantonese-English bilingual children at 2;06 and 3;0. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 688-692, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-125.


@inproceedings{Li2014,
  author={Jingwen Li and Peggy P.K. Mok},
  title={{The acquisition of English lexical stress by Cantonese-English bilingual children at 2;06 and 3;0}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={688--692},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-125},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-125}
}