L1 influence on stress placement by English language teachers in Anambra State (Nigeria)

Research Article

L1 influence on stress placement by English language teachers in Anambra State (Nigeria)

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2023.2213291
Author(s): Omotosho Moses Melefa University of Nigeria, Nsukka , Amarachi Calister Okenmuo University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Abstract

Despite the availability of a number of studies on stress in Nigerian English, scant attention has been paid to patterns of stress placement in connected speech by Anambra State English language teachers, especially insights that are supported with acoustic evidence. Bearing in mind this gap as well as their training in the language and its expected standardising role, this study describes the patterns that characterise stress assignment to words in the context of connected speech by Anambra State English language teachers, while tracking possible L1 influence. A short passage which was read by 50 Anambra State teachers and audio-recorded, in addition to naturally occurring classroom speech, constitute the data. The analysis, which was done perceptually and acoustically, shows that when placed against the constitutionally mandated patterns of Standard British English (SBE), the teachers have variable and unstable stress placement patterns on words in connected speech. They produced stressed syllables with higher F0, intensity and duration than SBE. Out of the 50 participants, only 21% had patterns that are close to SBE, while L1 influence was evident in 79% of the participants. This evidence does not support the continuous exonormative role of SBE for Nigerian English.

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