The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

Current Issue

Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 22

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 22, No. 0, pp. 1-18
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2022
Received 05 Dec 2021 Revised 18 Jan 2022 Accepted 27 Jan 2022

Effects of Parts of Speech on Implicit Prosodic Prominence by Native English Speakers and Korean Learners of English
Suyeon Im ; Hyunkee Ahn
(1st author) Research Assistant Professor, Hanyang Institute for Phonetics and Cognitive Sciences of Language, Department of English Language and Literature, Hanyang University, Tel: 02) 2220-2507 (
(corresponding author) Professor, Department of English Language Education, Seoul National University, Tel: 02) 880-7673 (

© 2022 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It has been proposed that content words are more likely to be prosodically prominent than function words. Such a binary distinction in word classes (content words versus function words) has been considered insufficient to predict the occurrence of prosodic prominence in more recent research. This study investigates the effects of (1) word classes and (2) parts of speech on prosodic prominence by native English speakers and Korean learners of English in silent reading of public speech. Results showed that Korean learners of English were more likely than native English speakers to assign prosodic prominence on content words as well as function words. The difference was greatest for verb for content words and determiner for function words. Also, Korean learners of English tended to show coarser mapping between prosodic prominence and parts of speech than native English speakers. In particular, native English speakers favored pronoun, among function words, which may convey co-referential information in discourse context, but this part of speech was treated equally with other function words by Korean learners of English. Based on the results, we propose a hierarchy of (sentence-level) stressability. These results are not identical to those from the previous studies on perception of prosodic prominence, suggesting a weak perception-production link of prosodic prominence. Overall, the present study expands our understanding of (a) the relationship between prosodic prominence and word classes/parts of speech and (b) the perception-production link of the suprasegmental feature in L2.

Keywords: implicit prosody, prosodic prominence, word class, part of speech, stressability, Korean learners of English, perception-production link

1. Abramson, M. 2007. The written voice: Implicit memory effects of voice characteristics following silent reading and auditory presentation. Perceptual and Motor Skills 105, 1171-1186.
2. Anttila, A. 2017. Stress, phrasing, and auxiliary contraction in English. In V. Gribanova and S. Shih, eds., The Morphosyntax-Phonology Connection: Locality and Directionality at the Interface, 143-170. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
3. Bates, D., M. Mächler, B. Bolker and S. Walker. 2015. Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software 67(1), 1-48.
4. Beckman, M. 1986. Stress and Non-Stress Accent. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Fortis.
5. Bishop, J. 2020. Exploring the similarity between implicit and explicit prosody: Prosodic phrasing and individual differences. Language and Speech 64(4), 873-899.
6. Bolinger, D. L. 1958. A theory of pitch accent in English. Word 14(2-3), 109-149.
7. Breen, M., E. Fedorenko, M. Wagner and E. Gibson. 2010. Acoustic correlates of information structure. Language and Cognitive Processes 25(7-9), 1044-1098.
8. Breheny, P. and W. Burchett. 2017. Visualization of regression models using visreg. The R Journal 9, 56-71.
9. Calhoun, S. 2010. The centrality of metrical structure in signaling in-formation structure: A probabilistic perspective. Language 86(1), 1-42.
10. Chodroff, E. and J. Cole. 2018. Information structure, affect, and prenuclear prominence in American English. Proceedings of Interspeech 2018. Hyderabad, India.
11. Cole, J., Y. Mo and M. Hasegawa-Johnson. 2010. Signal-based and expectation-based factors in the perception of prosodic prominence. Laboratory Phonology 1(2), 425-452.
12. Cole, J. and S. Shattuck-Hufnagel. 2016. New methods for prosodic transcription: Capturing variability as a source of information. Laboratory Phonology 7, 1-29.
13. Fodor, J. D. 1998. Learning to parse? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 27(2), 285-319.
14. Hirschberg, J. 1993. Pitch accent in context predicting intonational prominence from text. Artificial Intelligence 63(1-2), 305-340.
15. Im, S. 2019. Word class information in perception of prosodic prominence by Korean learners of English. Phonetics and Speech Sciences 11(4), 1-8.
16. Im, S., J. Cole and S. Baumann. 2018. The probabilistic relationship between pitch accents and information status in public speech. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 9. Poznań, Poland.
17. Jun, S-A. 2003. The effect of phrase length and speech rate on prosodic phrasing. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Barcelona, Spain.
18. Jun, S-A. 2005. Korean intonational phonology and prosodic transcription. In S-A. Jun, ed., Prosodic Typology: The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing, 201-229. New York: Oxford University Press.
19. Kim, C-H. 2000. Teaching the rhythm of English. Journal of Linguistic Studies 5, 45-59.
20. Kochanski, G., E. Grabe, J. Coleman and B. Rosner. 2005. Loudness predicts prominence: Fundamental frequency lends little. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 118(2), 1038-1054.
21. Ladd, D. R. 2008. Intonational Phonology, 2nd ed., 1st ed. 1996. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
22. Lee, H-Y. 1997. Korean Prosody. Seoul: Hankuk Yenkuwon.
23. Lenth, R. V. 2016. Least-Squares Means: The R Package lsmeans. Journal of Statistical Software 69(1), 1-33.
24. Levy, E. S. and F. F. Law. 2010. Production of French vowels by American-English learners of French: Language experience, consonantal context, and the perception-production relationship. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 128(3), 1290-1305.
25. Liberman, M. 1975. The Intonational System of English. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
26. Oh, Y-I. 2013. Phonetic realization of the function words for and to by Korean learners of English. English Language and Linguistics 19.2, 165-184.
27. Pierrehumbert, J. 1980. The Phonetics and Phonology of English Intonation. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
28. Pierrehumbert, J. and J. B. Hirschberg. 1990. The meaning of intonational contours in the interpretation of discourse. In P. R. Cohen, J. Morgan, and M. E. Pollack, eds., Intentions in Communication, 271-311. Cambridge: MIT Press.
29. Pike, K. L. 1945. The Intonation of American English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
30. R Core Team. 2019. R: A language and environment for statistical computing [Computer software]. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Retrieved from
31. Shattuck-Hufnagel, S. 1995. The importance of phonological transcription in empirical approaches to “stress shift” versus “early accent”: Comments on Grabe and Warren, and Vogel, Bunnell, and Hoskins. In B. Connell and A. Arvaniti, eds., Papers in Laboratory Phonology IV, 128-140. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
32. Shattuck-Hufnagel, S., M. Ostendorf and K. Ross. 1994. Stress shift and early pitch accent placement in lexical items in American English. Journal of Phonetics 22, 357-388.
33. Shih, S. 2018. Learning lexical classes from variable phonology. Proceedings of the 2nd Asian Junior Linguists Conference. Tokyo, Japan.
34. Sityaev, D. 2000. The relationship between accentuation and information status of discourse referents: A corpus-based study. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 12, 285-304.
35. Sluijter, A. M. and V. J. van Heuven. 1996. Spectral balance as an acoustic correlate of linguistic stress. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 100(4), 2471-2485.
36. Taylor, A., M. Marcus and B. Santorini. 2003. The Penn treebank: an overview. In A. Abeillé, ed., Treebanks: Building and Using Parsed Corpora, 5-22. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
37. Turk, A. E. and L. White. 1999. Structural influences on accentual lengthening in English. Journal of Phonetics 27(2), 171-206.
38. Um, H-Y., H-S. Lee and K-H Kim. 2001. Korean speakers’ realization of focus and information structure on English intonation in comparison with English native speakers. Speech Sciences 8(2), 133-148.
39. Vogel, I., T. Bunnell and S. Hoskins. 1995. The phonology and phonetics of the rhythm rule. In B. Connell and A. Arvaniti, eds., Papers in Laboratory Phonology IV, 111-127. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
40. Yoo, H-B. 2014. Phonetic reduction of English function words in the passage reading by Korean EFL learners. English Language and Linguistics 20(1), 179-202.
41. Yoon, Y-B. 1999. Teaching pronunciation of suprasegments in English. Korean Journal of Elementary Education 10(1), 365-392.