Domain-initial effects on unstressed syllables in Portuguese, Spanish, and English

This project is a large-scale acoustic study of the interaction of prosodic structure (i.e. IP-initial boundaries) with both lexical and phrasal prominence (i.e. lexical stress and nuclear pitch accents).

It compares several acoustic properties of consonants and vowels in fully unstressed syllables in unaccented words at IP-initial and Word-medial positions in three languages that differ in the degree to which lexical stress is phonetically expressed. A controlled reading experiment was undertaken with 42 speakers of Brazilian Portuguese, Mexican Spanish and American English.

Understanding the interaction of lexical and boundary prominence in stress languages may assist in disentangling some of the issues surrounding how prosodic units are processed though segmental phonetic detail.