Garcia, G. D. (2020). Language transfer and positional bias in English stress. Second Language Research, 36(4):445–474.


This paper shows that L1 transfer may not be effectively maintained in the interlanguage due to confounding factors in the L2. When two factors, \(\mathcal{A}\) and \(\mathcal{B}\), are correlated in the L2, second language learners may only acquire \(\mathcal{B}\), even if \(\mathcal{A}\) is present in the L1. Transfer may not be effective because \(\mathcal{B}\), being more robust in the input, conceals \(\mathcal{A}\). Native speakers, on the other hand, generalize \(\mathcal{A}\) in spite of \(\mathcal{B}\). The variables in question are weight-sensitivity (\(\mathcal{A}\)) and positional bias (\(\mathcal{B}\)) in English, both of which can predict the location of stress in the language. I show that two seemingly target-like groups of second language learners of English (speakers of Mandarin and speakers Portuguese) fail to accurately generalize weight-sensitivity in the language, and instead display response patterns which are predictable given the existing positional bias in English stress.

Keywords: transfer, stress, weight, positional bias, English, Mandarin, Portuguese, Bayes

How to cite

    Author = {Garcia, Guilherme Duarte},
    Journal = {Second Language Research},
    Title = {Language transfer and positional bias in {E}nglish stress},
    Year = {2020},
    Volume = {36},
    Number = {4},
    Pages = {445--474},
    Doi = {10.1177/0267658319882457}}

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