8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


Perception of English Lexical Stress by English and Japanese Speakers: Effect of Duration and "Realistic" Intensity Change

Shinichi Tokuma

Chuo University, Japan

This study investigated the effect of duration and intensity on the perception of English lexical stress by native and non-native speakers of English. The spectral balance of intensity was manipulated in a "realistic" way suggested by Sluijter et al. [1], which is to increase intensity level in the higher frequency bands (above 500Hz) as shown in the realisation of vocal effort. A non-sense English word /n(textschwa):n(textschwa):/ embedded in a frame sentence was used as the stimuli of the perceptual experiment, where English speakers and two levels of Japanese learners of English (advanced and pre-intermediate) were asked to determine lexical stress locations. The result showed: (1) "realistically" manipulated intensity serves as a strong cue for lexical stress perception of English for all subject groups; (2) advanced Japanese learners of English are, like English speakers, sensitive to duration in lexical stress perception, whereas pre-intermediate Japanese learners are, to a very limited extent, duration-sensitive; and (3) intensity, if altered in a proper way, could be as significant a cue as duration in perceiving English lexical stress.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tokuma, Shinichi (2003): "Perception of English lexical stress by English and Japanese speakers: effect of duration and "realistic" intensity change", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 2121-2124.