An L2 study on the production of stress patterns in English compounds*

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This paper compares the production of stress patterns in various types of compounds by English natives and by L1 Spanish/L2 English speakers. English natives (ENs) systematically produced idiomatic compounds with fore-stress (Strong-Weak) patterns, and so did the second language learners (L2ers) (although to a lesser extent). Significant differences were found between the two groups in their stress production of less familiar compositional compounds. While there was a strong tendency for ENs to produce fore-stress patterns in the case of argument-head combinations and a weak tendency to produce end-stress (Weak-Strong) patterns in the case of modifier-head combinations, L2ers exhibited a strong tendency to produce end-stress patterns across the board. We attribute this to the end-based stress property of the L1, in conjunction with the relatively ambiguous prosody of the modifier-head type due to analogical processes. Keywords: second language acquisition; stress patterns; compound words; noun-noun constructions; Nuclear Stress Rule


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