Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Victoria ZAVYALOVA

Interphonology Research: Stress in Asian Variaties of English

Abstract/Résumé: Back in 1997 B. Kachru proclaimed English an Asian language, and today English is continuing to grow as Asia's de facto lingua franca. The diversity of Asian Englishes implies cultural, linguistic, and, thus, phonological polyphony determined by the speakers' different mother tongues. The blending of the typologically different English and Asian languages results in phonological transfer, which affects prosodic organisation of speech by Asian speakers. The paper presents the results of the interphonology research in which the prosodic features of Asian Englishes have been compared with those of American English in order to derive a set of core properties common to all varieties of Asian English, as well as to discover features that are particular to an individual variety. The comparative study of stress in speech samples from RACE (Russian-Asian Corpus of English) included differentiation of such acoustic features as duration, frequency, intensity, and spectrum. All analyses were done using Praat scripts. The research revealed that among the commonalities the most salient include the following: 1) stressed syllables in Asian Englishes are usually as long as those in American English, while unstressed syllables are not as short ("lack of deprominencing"); 2) unstressed syllables are often given stress in Asian Englishes; 3) the prominence in Asian Englishes, as compared to that in American English, is achieved by a combination of a longer duration, stronger intensity, and higher degree of variation in frequency; 4) as a result of features 1-3, Asian Englishes are usually characterised by low differentiation between stressed and unstressed syllables; 5) the rhythmic structure of English polysyllabic words is regularly transformed; 6) Asian speakers of English tend not to differentiate between the stress patterns of complex words and word combinations. Specific features are as follows: 1) in China English prominence seems to be similar to L1 lexical tone modifications (Kachru's "reincarnation" of tones), which is explained by the lack of word stress in Chinese; 2) Korean English exhibits low level of intensity and duration contrasts in stressed and unstressed syllables (note, that the typology of Korean stress is still not revealed; 3) Japanese English stress is characterised by the pitch variations being its dominating marker. The findings of the research also show that the greater prominence in Russian English is achieved by longer duration, which can be attributed to the quantitative type of stress in the Russian language. Thus, Asian Englishes do not demonstrate native-like patterns of achieving prominence as they naturally transfer their L1 patterns of rhythmic organisation of words into those of L2.