LINGUIST List 6.1333

Sun Oct 1 1995

Sum: Teaching Stress

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Message 1: Summary - teaching stress

Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 20:30:07 Summary - teaching stress
From: <koeniglenny.haskins.yale.edu>
Subject: Summary - teaching stress

A little over a month ago, i posted a request for hints on how to make
students aware of lexical stress patterns in English. This was after i had,
rather to my surprise, encountered a few students, both native and non-
native speakers of English, who found it very difficult to label syllables as
stressed (primarily or secondarily) as opposed to unstressed.

I was amazed and gratified at the response this query drew. I received some
40 replies ranging in content from clever classroom tricks (many from ESL
instructors), to lists of useful examples, to thoughts on how the linguistic
and phonetic characteristics of stress might be relevant considerations. The
volume of responses has made it impossible for me to reply to most
respondants individually, but let me assure those who did respond that i
considered all replies carefully, and greatly appreciate your assistance and
encouragement. The quantity of information also seemed to call for some
degree of summarization and paraphrasing; i hope i have not thereby
misrepresented anyone's opinions. This has been a useful and interesting
activity for me, and I hope the following summary may be of some interest
and/or practical use to others.

Incidentally, some folks may have been confused a few weeks ago when my
original query was re-posted under a 'summary' heading. This was my fault
for accidentally sending the original file rather than the summary. (Damn
similar-sounding file names...) Though i re-sent the summary when i realized
my mistake, it evidently got lost in the general LINGUIST shuffle. Since
i received a few additional replies after the 2nd posting, this revised
summary incorporates the additional responses.

This summary is organized into 4 sections:

1. Contributors
2. Hints in 3 categories
3. Materials: Texts, minimal pairs, word lists, Buddy Holly.
4. Further commentary on the intuitive obviousness of lexical stress
	patterns
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Contributors

Thanks to the following (roughly in order of receipt of initial message):

Bret Parker, University of the Pacific libraries (bparkervms1.cc.uop.edu)
Ralf Grosserhode (Afrikanistik2uni-bayreuth.de)
Dan Everett (deverisp.pitt.edu)
Peter Binkert (binkertoakland.edu)
Margaret Fleck, UofIowa Comp. Sci. (mfleckcs.uiowa.edu)
Dirk Janssen (dirkjmpi.nl)
Jessica Williams, UofI  Chicago (U17883%UICVM.bitnet)
Allan Wechsler (Wechslerworld.std.com)
Marie Egan (eganblack.cla.sc.edu)
Tom Cravens (cravensmacc.wisc.edu)
Frank Blair (fdbplcmc.lib.nc.us)
Erika Konrad, Northern Ariz. U English (elknauvax.ucc.nau.edu)
Karen Stanley, Central Piedmont Comm. Coll.
 (karenhsunivscvm.csd.scarolina.edu)
Noriko Watanabe, U of Oregon East Asian Lang&Lit
 (wnorikodarkwing.uoregon.edu)
Kevin Russell, U of Manitoba Linguistics (krussllcc.umanitoba.ca)
Jefwebaol.com
Peter Ladefoged, UCLA (DU0PNLmvs.oac.ucla.edu)
James Kirchner (JPKIRCHNERaol.com)
Fred Field (ffieldbenfranklin.hnet.uci.edu)
Sharon Flank, Systems Research & Applications Corp (flankssra.com)
Jean-Louis Duchet, Universite Paris7-Denis Diderot & Universite de
Poitiers (duchetjlzeus.univ-poitiers.fr)
Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen (druuskancc.helsinki.fi)
Bruce E. Nevin, Cisco Systems (bnevincisco.com)
ASP Elissa (EASPshark.stmarys.ca)
Mark P. Line (mplineprairienet.org)
Janet Pierrehumbert (jbppippi.ling.nwu.edu)
Haj (John Robert) Ross (fj44jove.acs.unt.edu)
Don Churma (00dgchurmabsuvc.bsu.edu)
Kate McCreight (71533.2433compuserve.com)
Rosa Graciela Montes (rmontesrico.pue.udlap.mx)
Karen Steffen Chung, Nat'l Taiwan U. (karchungccms.ntu.edu.tw)
Richard Cameron (U17819%UICVM.bitnetYaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu)
Deborah Bobrow, Berkeley Systems, Inc. (dbobrowberksys.com)
Susan Ervin-Tripp (ervintr1violet.berkeley.edu)
Marion Kee, Carnegie Mellon (Marion.Keea.nl.cs.cmu.edu)
Sean Jensen, School of Oriental & African Studies
	(sjsoas.ac.uk , seanjseanj.demon.co.uk)
Erika Mitchell (emitchelmit.edu)

Thanks also to Doug Honorof for non-electronic discussions on this topic.
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Hints

The hints for pointing out stressed syllables to speakers basically fell into 3
categories: 1) Those that used linguistic materials; 2) those that in some
way invoked musical techniques; and 3) those that involved performing
some motor act in conjunction with the word.

In the first category, Bruce Nevin most concisely sums up the spirit of
tapping linguistic intuitions: "Be Socratic, ask them what's the difference
between present (n and v)." Sean Jensen offered similar thoughts as a
'phonologist's approach.' Many respondants felt that minimal pairs in a
known language were the best way to focus attention on stress and/or engage
student intuitions. A list of the pairs they suggested is provided in the
materials section below.

Frank Blair noted that the English noun-verb pairs are a useful way of
showing students that they do, in fact, react to stress patterns in everyday
linguistic situations, even if they have difficulty identifying stress patterns
otherwise. Don Churma commented, however, that some speakers may be
losing the noun-verb stress contrast.

Margaret Fleck suggested that putting words in sentential context may make
students more aware of errors in stress; thus sentences like
	I started typing on the con 'sole (v)
may sound particularly odd.

Tom Cravens uses minimal pairs to generate class discussion: "Write
_invalid_ on the board, and ask them how it's pronounced..." Another
possibility is presenting them with unknown words and asking the
pronunciation: "[Tell] them that they have to announce the home towns of
distinguished Italian visitors at a banquet... [or] prepare cards for someone
to use in doing such announcements, marking the stressed vowel." See his
list of place names below under materials.

Allan Wechsler recommended that "foreign students whose native language has
contrastive stress (say, Spanish) should work with examples in their own
languages, to better engage their intuitions."

Ralf Grosserhode & Frank Blair suggested using nonsense polysyllables varying
in stress placement in conjunction with the real language materials. Somewhat
interestingly (?), they both suppplied, specifically, trisyllabic CVCVCV's...

Peter Binkert reported success in having students practice reading aloud sets
of words that vary systematically in stress pattern. For example, students
begin by reading words with the pattern WSW, then go on to SWW words,
etc. He kindly included an extensive listing with his response, which is
reproduced in full [less one word that was unrecoverably warped in
transmission] in the materials section below.

Don Churma mentioned that derivationally-related pairs that show stress
shifts might also be useful illustrations (e.g., celebrate - celebration).

Sharon Flank passed on a trick used by a Polish instructor she knew:
"Have students repeat only the vowel pattern of words, with the correct
stress pattern, e.g.
		Massachusetts
		ae - uh - OO - E
This seemed to work even for those poor souls who were otherwise unable
to repeat the polysyllabic Polish words - in part, I suppose, because they
didn't need to concentrate on nasty consonant clusters." [It occurs to me
that this might be a nice way in English of highlighting the relationship
between stress and vowel quality.]

Finally, a few persons suggested that poetic language might help focus
students' attention on stress patterns.
	James Kirchner: Find a short poem that won't track properly if
some of its words are replaced with others
	Marie Egan: "Read your class some Dr. Seuss, Shel Silversten, or
something like that." Similarly, from Mark P. Line: "use some of the Dr.
Seuss rhymes that over-emphasize rhythm and stress. You know the
ones..."

A closely related tactic uses on chants and musical lyrics, as the following
(again supplied by Mark Line):
 	YAN kee DOO dle WENT to TOWN
	a RI ding ON a PO ny
	he STUCK a FEA ther IN his CAP
	and CALLED it MAC ca RO ni.

	Get them to try to sing it with the wrong stress. Can't be done.

He pointed out that this approach essentially means working from phrase-
level stress down to word-level stress. Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen also
suggested introducing the topic of stress using phrasal examples such as
YOU're not going out. versus You're NOT going out!, etc. Finally, i
include in this context the sentiments of Jefwebaol.com: "Perhaps, like
music, teaching stress may be more successful at times by teaching the phrase
pattern as an important unit -- like learning music note by note verses
motivating the phrase."

Bret Parker cited TESL works by Carolyn Graham as a possible source of
chanted materials (see below under materials) and wondered if a friendly
cadet might be able to supply some polite marching chants. Peter
Ladefoged also mentioned marching: "Usually [people] will make the
stressed syllable coincide with a step--if they are speakers of English."

A few folks went the whole 9 yards [where does this phrase come from, anyway?]
and suggested drawing very explicit connections between music and speech.
Marion Kee surmised that the problem of "hearing stress" might be similar to
the problem a few people have of "picking up a rhythm," and wondered whether
music teachers might have some useful suggestions. Bret Parker pointed out
that "word-stress and musical settings are fairly consistent... [I]n a hymnal
with over 300 hymn settings, not a single hymn ... has an initial word "a,"
"an," or "the" starts on the downbeat (the beat of principal stress). So I
like to teach people about how stress falls in a measure, that in common time
(4/4), there is a principal stress on one and a secondary stress on three.
Beats two and four get minimal stress."
	Similarly, Fred Field said, "I'll start with an even, alternating
rhythmic pattern with my hands (right-left, right-left, and so on). To help
children in their first music lessons, teachers will accent the first beat. So
,
you have a pattern like X-x-x-x, X-x-x-x, something like that. By shifting
the stress around (for example, to the second beat), you create a different
rhythm. I then explain that language (i.e., English) is similar. We establish
a rhythm in our speech. Most students have heard rap with very rhythmic
speech... "

[In retrospect, I'm a bit surprised that this was the only mention of rap i
received. It's certainly a relevant example.]

Fred also passed on an interesting anecdote about variation in audiences
clapping to Buddy Holly, which is included at the end of the materials
section. [I'm not sure whether the example tells us something about cultural
differences in musical form, or something about dialectal differences in
linguistic rhythm, or what...but anyway, take a look at it.]

The other major musical technique involved relying on pure pitch or, more
rarely, intensity changes to indicate stress. Four persons (Kevin Russell,
ASP Elissa (EASPshark.stmarys.ca), Karen Stanley and Susan Ervin-Tripp)
recommended having students hum words rather than speak them. This may
help demonstrate multiple stress levels: The highest pitch indicates primary
stress, a mid tone indicates secondary stress, and low pitches occur on
unstressed syllables. (In this context, I should mention that Noriko Watanabe
(wnorikodarkwing.uoregon.edu) requested a summary of the replies, in
the hopes that some hints on teaching stress might assist her in teaching
native speakers of Japanese to locate where the pitch accent occurs...)
Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen recounted a professor playing musical cliches
on a violin (e.g., the opening sequence to Beethoven's 5th: da da da
DAAA) to Chinese students to illustrate the notion that stressed syllables in
English varied in length and pitch. Finally, Doug Honorof and Richard Cameron
suggested [i've got to admit, i can't wait to try this one] speaking words
through a kazoo, to obliterate segmental information, emphasize loudness
differences between stressed and unstressed syllables, and, possibly, force
the speaker to exaggerate pitch contours.

My original query on LINGUIST mentioned a method that I had learned some years
ago: Tap once as you say a word; most speakers will tap on the stressed
syllable. Peter Ladefoged offered an explanation for this phenomenon:
"...if you take stress to be something that a speaker does (rather than a
phonological construct), it is only on these syllables that people can
recognize that they are doing something (putting in extra respiratory effort),
and only at these moments can they synchronize another bodily movement, such
as a tap." At the same time, Marion Kee cautions that some people may
require much practice before they are able to synchronize body movements
and speech. Several respondents mentioned having learned the tapping method;
Erika Konrad mentioned it in connection with Gilbert's ESL textbook (see
materials section), and James Kirchner reported having learned it in 1st
grade. Erika Mitchell reports having learned as a child "[to put] our fingers
on our throats and feeling (or trying to feel) for the extra tension and
release involved in the stressed syllable. It was a far from perfect method,
but with practice, we could answer our little stress worksheets with better
than chance accuracy." [There is a clear parallel here to the old method of
discerning tense and lax vowels--but that's its own debate.]

There were some interesting variations on the tapping theme as well:
	a) Jean-Louis Duchet uses the following with French students of
English and phonetics: Starting with an actual word, tap out its rhythm,
with one tap for every stressed syllable and a stronger tap for the stressed
one. Then have students reproduce the tapped rhythm themselves. Finally,
have the students say the word as they tap.
	b) Haj Ross passed on his "tapping with a wrinkle" method: "Get
the students to say the word fast 5 - 10 times, hitting the table with their
hands on each repetition. The faster they go, the more the stressed syllable
will be what they hit on. Then make them slow down the pronunciation,
while still repeating, until they are going one syllable / second, when they
either hear the accent or fail, right?"
	c) Kate McCreight dispenses altogether with the subtleties of small
motor acts: "Have them pretend they are actors in a bad movie, and the
word in question is some kind of nasty name: "why, you dirty ________!"
Have them pound the table or punch the air as they say it. Pounding seems
to work better than tapping."

Finally, Jessica Williams, Doug Honorof and Richard Cameron described a
technique sometimes used in ESL classrooms--a coincident act that may serve as
visual illustration as well: Use a rubber band (either in your hands or the
student's) to demonstrate stress. The usual tendency is to stretch the rubber
band on the stressed syllables, and retract it on the unstressed ones. Richard
noted that this method demands a fairly slow speaking rate.
- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. Materials.

A. Books, texts, etc:

Bret Parker provided the following reference:
	Graham, Carolyn. _Jazz chants for children: rhythms of American
	English Through Chants, Songs, and Poems_. New York: Oxford
	Univ Press, 1979.
and surmised that this author may have done works for adult audiences as
well.

The most widely cited ESL text (Erika Konrad, Karen Steffen Chung, and Richard
Cameron) was
	Judy Gilbert. _Clear Speech_. Cambridge University Press
which teaches stress by the tapping method and also by definition (length,
pitch and loudness compared to surrounding syllables).

Another suggestion from Karen S. Chung was
	Linda Grant. _Well said_. Heinle and Heinle publishers.

Don Churma recommended--despite a possible counter-example--the
Akmajian et al. Intro textbook for a Liberman/Prince account of stress shifts
through derivation in English (e.g., celebrate-celebration).

B. Word pairs:

German (thanks to Ralf Grosserhode)
	Umfahren - to drive over s.o.
	umfAhren - to drive round s.th

Dutch (thanks to Dirk Janssen)
	bed_e_len - to give everyone his/her part
	b_e_delen - to beg

Italian (thanks to Tom Cravens)
	par 'lo - he/she spoke
	'par lo - I speak

	'prin cipi - princes
	prin 'cipi - principles

English pairs (thanks to Margaret Fleck, Dirk Janssen, James Kirchner,
Frank Blair, Tom Cravens, Peter Binkert, Bruce Nevin, Don Churma, Rosa
Graciela Montes, Deborah Bobrow). [The following "pairs" vary greatly in the
degree of reduction of the unstressed vowel. One might take the position that
true 'minimal pairs differing in stress' show little vowel quality variation,
e.g., permit, survey, pervert (n-v). Alternatively, of course, one could say
that vowel quality/reduction is simply one component of English stress.]

noun-verb pairs (Noun pattern = SW, verb pattern = WS)
	recall
	console
	addict
	conduct
	contract
	discharge
	torment
	record
	export
	permit
	compress
	 Is it possible to __________ this file?
	 You better put a __________on that until you get to the doctor.
	finance
	 Alice's major is _____________.
	 I'll have to __________ the car.
	address
	 The Gettysburg ___________
	 What's your __________?
	present
	desert
	convert
	pervert
	suspect
	survey
A rare pair:
	essay
A pair that may exist for some speakers:
	admit (Deborah Bobrow has seen this form used as a noun used in
		writing to mean 'admission.')

noun-adjective pairs :
	invalid (n vs. adjective)
	 Since the accident, Elmer has been an ______________.
	 That parking sticker is __________; it says "good until August
	 31, 1994!"
	'con tent , con 'tent
	'per fect , per 'fect

Other pairs:
	weekend, weakened
	specialty, special tea
	bellow, below

Phrasal pairs varying in stress pattern (to differentiate primary and
secondary stress)
		White House 	vs. 	white house
		the 2 hotdogs	vs.	the 2 hot dogs
	[Everybody CAN tell the difference...or they might be served a
	canine with an elevated temperature, rather than a "HOT dog"! -D.
	Churma]

Cases where stress may vary among speakers, or fall in an unexpected
location:
	irrevocable
	De 'troit vs. 'DE troit
	ci 'gar vs. 'CI gar
	New Berlin IL (new 'berlin)
	Bolivar MO ('baliver)
	Piasa IL ('paiesa) (e=schwa here)
	Benld IL (b'neld).

C. Tom Cravens's list of Italian place names illustrating stress patterns:

	'Bergamo
	'Taranto
	'Sassari
	'Padova
	'Brindisi
	'Rimini
	'Imola
	
	Oste'ria
	Cat'tolica
	Pa'via
	Domo'dossola
	Ales'sandria
	

D. Words grouped by stress pattern (thanks to Peter binkertoakland.edu)
[In looking this over i am reminded of rhyming dictionaries...]

VOWELS, STRESS, AND SPELLING: Transcribe the following words
including placement of primary stress. (v) =verb; (n) =noun; (a) =adjective

(1) Two syllables:

agree, debris, ennui, Pawnee, marquee, esprit, asea
angry, money, sunny, gypsy, litchi, Fifi, squeegee
survey (v), Bombay, bouquet, inveigh, parfait, souffle', soiree
survey (n), bomb bay, Tuesday, foray, subway, cadre, entre'
review, canoe, shampoo, construe, eschew, ragout, undo
preview, igloo, curfew, yahoo, Zulu, voodoo, cashew
below, outgrow, plateau, Bordeaux, although, jabot, hello
bellow, meadow, aloe, hobo, Margot, cocoa, de'pot,
outcry (v), apply, goodbye, sky high, descry, untie, Versailles
outcry (n), ally, cacti, Ely, magpie, fish fry, pigsty
soda, tchotchke, bwana, chutzpah, geisha, djibbah, schmatte

(2) Three syllables:

broccoli, apogee, fricassee, apathy, symphony, pedigree, ivory
shillelagh, chianti, bologna, Delancey, obliquely, confetti, Hatari
guarantee, bourgeoisie, chimpanzee, Tennessee, fleur-de-lis, potpourri,
jamboree, runaway, Saturday, ricochet, sobriquet, protege, workaday
matine, San Jose, Beaujolais, Chevrolet, Santa Fe, negligee, overplay,
rendevous, parvenu, residue, peekaboo, interview (n), honeydew, avenue
Timbuktu, kangaroo, misconstrue, overthrew, hitherto, buckaroo, overdo
mistletoe, Mexico, gigolo, furbelow, embryo, cameo, Scorpio
fiasco, concerto, rococo, soprano, falsetto, crescendo, alfresco
portmanteau, overflow (v), apropos, status quo, tallyho, cheerio, to-and-fro
amplify, rockaby, occupy, incubi, prophesy, alkali, underlie
subpoena, agenda, charisma, pariah, pagoda, kimono, babushka

(3) Four syllables:

apostrophe, Menomini, Penelope, fraternity, hyperbole, anemone,
telegraphy
Ypsilanti, necromancy, kamikaze, Cincinnati, insincerely, poison ivy,
hokey-pokey
pistachio, Arapahoe, embroglio, Lothario, simpatico, adagio, portfolio
armadillo, Filipino, San Marino, virtuoso, Sacramento, lucky fellow,
punchinello
Arabia, azalea, Bulgaria, agraphia, et cetera, millenia, America
hullabaloo, Kalamazoo, Tippecanoe

E. The Buddy Holly anecdote (from Fred ffieldbenfranklin.hnet.uci.edu)

	In the early days of rock n' roll, so-called Black audiences listened
to Black artists, and white folks listened to their own type of music. In
those days Black music was called rhythm and blues. When artists like
Holly came on the scene--and later Elvis--fans were somewhat confused
because they couldn't tell if these artists were black or white. Holly was
asked to play at the Apollo--a famous Black nightclub in Harlem--before it
was discovered he wasn't black. He was later invited to play, as the story
goes, in Atlanta. Black radio stations played his music as did the white
stations. At his concert, both groups showed up, and in the atmosphere of
segregation created a large mess. Organizers needed to either tell one group
or the other to go home, or arrange some type of seating that would
maintain the outward appearance of segregation. So, Black folks sat on one
side of the auditorium, and White folks on the other. Cultural patterns
showed up right away, with the African-Americans clapping to the music on
2 and 4 (the second and fourth beat in the musical measure), and the
Caucasians clapping on 1 and 3. The clapping alternated from one side of
the room to the other.).
	The moral to the story is that we clap on the stressed (or accented)
beat in the music, which when accompanied by lyrics means the stressed
syllable.

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Further commentary on stress and its intuitive obviousness

As for the overall issue of students finding it difficult to perceive stress
contrasts, my respondants represented the full spectrum from incredulity to
emphathy. The notion that non-native speakers might have difficulty was
generally accepted, and it even produced a classroom technique: "Play tapes
of the speech of two native speakers, one of whom, however, misplaces stress on
a couple of items. Tell them that one is a very fluent non-native speaker, and
ask which one" (Tom Cravens). But the native English speakers were another
matter entirely; cf. James Kirchner's comment, "I'm pretty amazed that any
native-speaking undergrads can't hear English lexical stress, but I guess
anything's possible." Allan Wechsler suggested that non-native speakers
might have difficulty if their native language did not use contrastive stress:
	"Listen to their own pronunciation of English. Do they _produce_
	stress correctly? If not, then they have simply never internalized
	the notion. If they are to learn it, they must do so intellectually,
	the way we learn all foreign phonology."
But again, native speakers were another story:
	"The native English speakers -- wow, that's a toughie. Have you
	tested their ability to _count_ syllables? Can they say words
	syllable-by-syllable? I'm tempted to suspect a real neurological
	deficit, and I'd look for other clues."

Many responses implied that the goal with native English-speaking students
was essentially to make their intuitions obvious to them; cf. Frank Blair's
observation that "once folk are convinced that they can actually hear stress,
the rest becomes easier." Peter Ladefoged felt that one couldn't expect
persons to be able to apply a "stressed" label to syllables other than those
with primary stress and the one with the phrasal (pitch) accent, but "even
that is very difficult for non-native speakers."

In the meantime, bits like "I finally found something that works" (Haj Ross)
and "Tough subject!" (Kate McCreight) were helping convince me that I
wasn't creating mythical difficulties in these few native speakers (especially
after a discussion one morning over breakfast with Arthur Abramson, who fell
squarely among the incredulous). A few persons "confessed" to having their
own problems identifying stress. After proposing that rhythmic poetry might
help students perceive stress patterns, Marie Egan added that this ability
might not transfer to other situations. "When I had to write poetry in
college I looked up every multisyllable word in the dictionary to find out
its stress." Don Churma outlined a couple cases where subtleties of phonetic
vowel quality may make stress identification difficult "even" for phonologists
and phoneticians. One of these was the difference between an unstressed vowel
and a non-primarily stressed /I/. [I was rather happy to see this one; I have
_always_ been skeptical how /I/ and /U/ play into stress-level differences
where vowel quality is supposed to be a major cue.] In a similar vein, Mark
Line observed the particular difficulties posed by running, as opposed to
citation form, speech: "I think a lot of what we perceive as lexical stress as
native speakers is often completely unreflected in the signal. We know the
word's stress pattern (when uttered alone, for instance), and so that's how
we perceive it." [Indeed, there are times when i find myself in quite a
conceptual struggle trying to reconcile the notion of linguistic stress levels
with the phonetic nature of stress as a gradient and extremely -- shall we
say 'plastic' -- phenomenon]. The final word on the theme of variance i give
to Janet Pierrehumbert: "...some people simply do not hear stress well; some
experiments by Nakatani and Aston suggest that stress is just not very salient
to some people. We got a lot of interspeaker variability in affects of stress
in our article that just came out in Language and Speech (Pierrehumbert and
Nair). It's kind of shocking to have such a central concept exhibit so much
interspeaker variability, but there you are."

A few respondants reported similar difficulties teaching stress, or related
notions, to native speakers of other languages. Deborah D. Kela
Ruuskanen related difficulty teaching stress in Finnish, and Noriko
Watanabe has encountered some native Japanese who have a hard time
perceiving pitch accent. Clearly there is _a lot_ that can be said (and
questioned) about how stress and its perception may vary as a function of
language, but that takes us a bit afield of the question at hand. I will,
however, pass along the following account from Dan Everett:
	"Your query raises a fascinating issue that Peter Ladefoged and I
dealt with this summer in our investigations into the stress patterns of
Banawa and Piraha. In both cases we were concerned with checking out
(my own) published claims on the stress patterns of those languages.
	With Banawa, it turned out to be quite easy to teach three men to tap
with their fingers, or with a pen on a metal bar, the stressed syllables. They
were all quite accurate and consistent.
	With Piraha, however, we attempted to teach this to three people.
Two of the three couldn't get the point at all and either tapped randomly,
*after* saying the word, or on each syllable in careful, slow speech. One
person was able to learn to do this but not consistently. Sometimes he
would tap after the word and sometimes only at the end of words. But in
several cases, mainly when he wasn't tired, he tapped on the stressed
syllables.
	I suspect that the differential success we had in Banawa and Piraha
is related to the fact that Banawa is not tonal, its stress is postlexical,
and it has a fairly constant acoustic correlate (loudness) - but I am only
speculating (Piraha is tonal, so stress must compete with tone for prominence
- since tone is lexical, stress is less salient than tone; in Piraha morphology
crucially interacts with stress; in Piraha stress doesn't have a constant
acoustic correlate - can be loudness, length, or tone intensification).
	We therefore tried another tack with Piraha. We recorded a native
speaker pronouncing the words we wanted to test. Then we computationally
manipulated the amplitude, length, pitch, etc. of different words, played
these to another native speaker, and to the original informant, and asked
them to tell us which ones were good and which ones were "crooked"
(Piraha expression). This worked much better. But it still wasn't 100%
consistent.
	So I suspect that it will be easier to teach native speakers to
identify stressed syllables when there is "less prosodic competition" in the
utterance.
	In any case, you are absolutely correct - teaching stress is not as
transparent as some parts of the literature suggest.
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Again my thanks to all respondants.

laura l. koenig
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