Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Douglas H. Whalen

Committee Members

Jason Bishop

Christina Hagedorn

Subject Categories

First and Second Language Acquisition | Phonetics and Phonology


Lexical stress, L2 speech, Articulation, Acoustic, Prosody


This dissertation investigated the acoustic and articulatory correlates of lexical stress in Mandarin second language (L2) learners of English, as well as in first language (L1) speakers. The present study used a minimal pair respective to stress location (e.g., OBject versus obJECT) obtained from a publicly available Mandarin Accented English Electromagnetic articulography corpus dataset. In the acoustic domain, the use of acoustic parameters (duration, intensity, F0, and vowel quality) was measured in stressed and unstressed vowels. In the articulatory domain, the positional information from tongue tip (TT), tongue dorsum (TD), upper lip (UL), lower lip (LL), and jaw (JAW) were retrieved from the concurrent vowel data. Finally, the acoustic and articulatory correlation was computed and compared both within and across groups. The acoustic analysis demonstrated that L2 speakers significantly differentiated the stressed vowels from the unstressed vowels using all suprasegmental cues, while vowel quality was extremely limitedly used in the L2 group. In the articulatory analysis, Mandarin L2 speakers demonstrated the extremely limited lexical stress effect. A significant difference as a function of lexical stress was noted only in the vertical dimension of low-back vowels. The acoustic and articulatory correlation results revealed a relatively weaker correlation in L2 speakers than in L1 speakers. In the L2 group, certain articulators such as TD and the JAW demonstrated a stronger correlation than LL and TT.