A Cross- Linguistic Study on the Production of English Lexical Stress: Reliance on Language Proficiency Cue
Stress is an important phonological feature that exists in many languages of the world (e.g., English, Spanish, Turkish and Classical Arabic, etc.). It increases the articulateness and intelligibility in speech and communication mainly English as a phonemic language (Kiriakos & O'Shaughnessy, 1989). This study examines the L2 learners‟ performance of typologically two unlike languages in the production of English lexical stress. Iraqi Arabic and Chinese Malaysian L2 learners are included in the production experiment to allocate lexical stress in real and nonce words. The results of the experiment presented that Chinese Malaysian group realized significantly better than the Iraqi Arabic group in producing lexical stress and Iraqi Arabic subjects had an additional difficulty in the production of mismatch syllabic patterns. After computing and controlling the language proficiency variable for both language groups, their subjects‟ mean percentage scores were equitably alike and statistically no significant difference in performance. Nevertheless, the Iraqi Arabic learners were better at allocating stress in match syllabic patterns than Chinese Malaysian L2 learners, but the difference was also not significant suggesting that the chief difficulty in which L2 learners come across in obtaining English lexical stress was concerning to L1 influence specifically stress patterns and tones. The study exhibited that lexical stress difference is inflexible for L2 learners irrespective of their native languages.