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Book: Romance-Germanic Bilingual Phonology

Chapter: Acquisition of English Stress by Québec Francophones

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27358


This chapter examines how Québec French (QF) speakers acquire phrase and word prominence in English. Unlike European French, where stress is phrase-final (Fouché 1934, Garde 1968), QF has been shown to have non-final (penult) as well as phrase-final prominence (Paradis & Deshaies 1990, Thibault & Ouellet 1996). English stress, on the other hand, relies on both morphological and phonological factors, with extrametricality and syllable weight playing a role in stress assignment. QF speakers acquiring English therefore need to learn that (a) final stress in English is avoided and (b) stress is often three syllables away from the right edge of the word (e.g., fórtunate) if the penult syllable is light; when a level-2 suffix is involved, stress may be four syllables away from the right edge of the word (e.g., fórtunately). In our production experiment, we analyze how QF speakers (L2ers) produce (i) phrases in isolation, and (ii) phrases in carrier sentences. Our prediction is that words with antepenult or pre-antepenult stress should present more variation, given the bigger deviance from the L1 pattern. As a result, post-tonic lapses in the target language may be resolved with secondary prominences.

Chapter Contributors

  • Guilherme Garcia ( - ggarcia) 'McGill University'
  • Natália Guzzo ( - nguzzo) 'Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul'