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California State University, Fullerton Linguistic Department Annual Linguistic Symposium April 09, 2012 ''Incorrect stress assignment to English words.

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Presentation on theme: "California State University, Fullerton Linguistic Department Annual Linguistic Symposium April 09, 2012 ''Incorrect stress assignment to English words."— Presentation transcript:

1 California State University, Fullerton Linguistic Department Annual Linguistic Symposium April 09, 2012 ''Incorrect stress assignment to English words by Arabic speakers Presented by Ali Asiri

2 Many non-native speakers of English speak with what is called a “foreign” accent. One of the reasons for such an accent is that each language varies considerably in the rules of placing stress within words, and this affects the way English is pronounced. One of the points of differences between Standard Arabic and English is the way the two languages employ the stress patterns of words.

3 The purpose of this paper is to discover how the two systems differ by holding a comparison between Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and English word stress patterns in order to ascertain the outstanding characteristics of the two languages in this particular linguistic area and hence to predict the points of interference apt to arise in learning English

4 In English, stressed syllables are stressed and unstressed syllables are reduced to neutral schwa / ә /. Arabic stressed syllables are not lengthened the way English does and unstressed syllables don’t show reduction in their vowel quality. For example, مَدرَسَه mad-ra-sa English wordPhonetic transcription Today /t ә de ɪ / Occur /әkɛr//әkɛr/ about /әbaʊt//әbaʊt/

5 In ’Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the stress location is predictable and governed by rules. In English, assigning stress to words is complicated and difficult process. Word stress in both (MSA) and the dialects is non- phonemic. stress cannot be used to distinguish meanings in Arabic. Whereas in English words like the noun permit are distinguished from the verb permit by stress alone,

6 Word stress in both (MSA) and the dialects is non- phonemic. stress cannot be used to distinguish meanings in Arabic. Whereas in English words like the noun permit are distinguished from the verb permit by stress alone, content He is not Conte ́ nt about his paper’s co ́ ntent. present The students prese ́ nted the teacher with a pre ́ sent. MSA pronunciationEgyptian pronunciationmeaning مَــدْرَسَـــة Mad-ra-sa مَــدرَسَـــة Mad-ra-sa school

7 In English, content words are stressed words in a sentence and function words are usually unstressed, unstressed syllables in function words are reduced to schwa / ә /. In Arabic, unstressed syllables in function words keep their vowel’s value. English sentencePhonetic transcription I'll go to library. / a ɪ ә l go t ә la ɪ br ә ri/

8 English is a stress-timed rhythm which means that the time taken to get from one stressed syllable to another stressed syllable is equally even regardless of the number of the unstressed syllables that are in between. Arabic, on the other hand, is syllable-timed rhythm which means that syllables that occur in a sentence are equally spaced and occur at even intervals. Consequently, every syllable, whether it is stressed or unstressed in Arabic sentence is pronounced clearly and takes the same time of pronunciation.

9 The stress rules in Arabic and English are more intricate than some other languages. In Finnish: the stress always falls on the first syllable of a word. In Polish: on the next-to-last syllable of a word. In French: on the last syllable of a word. (Gaith)

10 Misplacement of assigning the stress to the words due to added suffixes. For example, phótograph, photógraphy, photográphic. Incapacity to assign stress to the words that change their meaning by shifting the stress. Confusion of some pairs of words. English wordsentence ConflictThe newspaper description of cónflict conflícts. ProjectWe projéct the next próject will cost millions SuspectThe police suspéct the súspect knows the victim ObjectShe objécted to be entreated like an óbject.

11 Pronouncing the vowel of unstressed syllable with its full quality. For example, it is common to eat salad in Sweden. Failure to adopt the stress-timed rhythm of English He went to school Arabic pronunciation /Hi: w ɪ nt tu: sku:l/ English pronunciation /hi: w ɪ nt t ә sku:l/ It is common to eat salad in Sweden. Arabic pronunciationIt is commʊn to eat salad in swed ɪ n English pronunciationIt is comm ә n to eat salad in Swed ә n.

12 Having difficulty to assign the stress to the verbs that end in heavy syllables such as, -ize, - ment, -fest, and -ary in which stress falls two syllables before the suffix. Stress misplacement of three-or-more syllable verbs that ending in light syllable. Develop. Stress misplacement of words that end in one of these suffixes: -cial, -tion, and –ic. For examples, Commercial, information, economic Stress misplacement of abstract nouns that end in these suffixes: -ance, -ancy, -y, For example, Presidency, dependency, monarchy Sócializegŕaduate,sécretarymánifestmonópolizecómplem ent.

13 Stress misplacement of three-syllable nouns with tense vowel in the final syllable such as, appetite, institute. Stress misplacement of three-or-more syllable adjectives with light endings such as adamant, barbarous, magnificent, and generous. Also, three-syllable adjectives ending in heavy syllables such as asinine, and difficult proved to be difficult for Arabic speakers.

14 Does Arabic language lie behind the stress misplacement of English words? In order to be able to answer this question we need to be familiar with some basic stress rules of Arabic, and they are as follows: Stress always falls on the ultimate syllable if that syllable is superheavy. This rule takes precedence over all others. رِجَال ri-jaal men جَدِيد ja-diid new

15 2. In monosyllabic words, stress falls on the ultimate syllable. مَا ma(a) what قَدْ qad already 3. In disyllabic words, stress falls on the penultimate syllable. Arabic Roman English هِيَ hi-ya she بَنَى ba-na(a) he built

16 4. In polysyllabic words, stress falls on the penultimate if that syllable is heavy. جَدِيدٌ ja-dii-dun ‘new’ آَتَبْتُمْ ka-tab-tum ‘you wrote’ 5. In polysyllabic words, stress falls on the antepenultimate if the penultimate is light. كَتَبَ ka-ta-ba he wrote عَاصِمَة aa-Si-ma capital

17 it is necessary to understand how words are divided into syllables (syllabic structure). 1. A light syllable consists of a consonant followed by a short vowel (CV). CV كَ / ka/ consonant followed by a short vowel. 2. A heavy syllable consists of either a consonant followed by two vowels (CVV), or of a consonant followed by a short vowel and a consonant (CVC). CVV بَا / baa/ consonant followed by a long vowel. CVC بَبْ /bab/ consonant followed by a short vowel and a consonant

18 A superheavy syllable consists of a consonant followed by one or two vowels followed by one or two consonants: CVVC نُون /nuun/ consonant + long vowel + consonant CVCC كَبَّ /kabb/ consonant + short vowel + double consonant

19 In his article, Mohammed Anani proved that Arabic learners don’t just transfer, from the mother tongue, individual phonemes which approximate the target sound, but rather they tend to be influenced by a much more comprehensive “negative transfer” related to underlying structure of the source language. Mohammed compiled a list of words in which he found a clear evidence of Arabic influence in stressing these words in conformity with Arabic. The first group is words that end in superheavy syllables on which the stress falls in Arabic.

20 The wordEnglish pronunciation Arabic pronunciation Arabic words Dictate di ́ ctate DictáteSa-laam CóncretecóncreteConcréteDu-ruus Parachute Pa ́ rachuteparachu ́ te Ja-miil Headlights hea ́ dlightsheadli ́ ghts Ri-jaal Topcoat to ́ pcoattopcoa ́ t Yaa- baan appetite a ́ ppetiteappeti ́ te

21 The second group is the words don’t contain superheavy syllable. These words consist of light and heavy syllables: (cv-cv-cvc), (cvc-cv-cv). The wordEnglish pronunciati on Arabic pronunciati on Arabic similar structure words Position Posi ́ tionpo ́ sitionMa ́ s- ʔ a-la Condition Condi ́ tionCo ́ nditionMa ́ s-ta-ra Delicious Deli ́ ciousDe ́ liciousMa ́ r-ha-la Musician Musi ́ cianMu ́ siciansa ́ -la-ta political politi ́ calpo ́ litical

22 It is very clear that Arabic speakers transfer some Arabic features when pronouncing English words or sentences. It is called Negative transfer. The mistakes done by Arabic speakers regarding stress placement is recurring and predictable which can be utilized by English teachers to approach these mistakes and classify them in order for students to be aware of the general rules of English stress system. The stress patterns of English are very complicated and therefore students are highly recommended to refer to some reliable pronouncing dictionary when they come across difficult words.

23 Halpern, J. (n.d.). word stress and vowel neutralization in modern standard arabic. 7. Ghaith, S. (1993). The assignment of primary stress to words by some arab speakers. System, 21(3), 381-390. Kharma, N., & Hajjaj, A. (1997). Errors in English among Arabic speakers: Analysis and remedy. Beirut: York Press Librairie du Liban Publishers. Wahba, E. (1998). Teaching pronunciation--why?. Forum, 36(3),. Wines, M. (1989). Incorrect stress placement in the case of arab learners of english. international review of applied linguistics in language teaching, 27(1), 6.


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