An exploratory study of the stress patterns of compound nouns in Hong Kong English

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An exploratory study of the stress patterns of compound nouns in Hong Kong English


Author: Ho, Kwok-keung
Title: An exploratory study of the stress patterns of compound nouns in Hong Kong English
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1995
Subject: English language -- Pronunciation by foreign speakers
English language -- Compound words
English language -- China -- Hong Kong
English language -- Grammar, Comparative -- Chinese
Chinese language -- Grammar, Comparative -- English
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: [iii] 75 leaves : ill. ; 31 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: This research consists of two parts. In the first part, about ten hours' recordings of Legco proceedings, committee meetings and panel meetings were investigated. Sixty-five compound nouns were collected. Most of the compound nouns found in this dissertation are unique in Hong Kong. Very often, they are names of places, committees, government departments, and political parties such as Rambler Channel, Bills Committee, Prisons Department, and Liberal Party. Of the sixty-five compound nouns, forty are initially stressed, representing a percentage of 61.54 and twenty-five are finally stressed, having a percentage of 38.46. This reflects one of the facts about compound nouns - English compound nouns tend to be initially stressed. However, if the subjects' responses are examined, it is found out that forty-seven of the compound nouns are finally stressed. This indicates that local Cantonese prefer to use a final stress pattern for compound nouns rather than an initial stress pattern. It is concluded that native speakers of English and local Cantonese use different patterns for compound nouns. In the second part, thirty subjects were invited to read aloud twenty words printed on a piece of paper. There was an overall accuracy rate of 53.52%. Since this figure was slightly higher than 50%, it was suggested that the subjects did not have a good mastery of the stress patterns of the test compound words. The results of the two investigations point out that local Cantonese are not very familar with the correct stress patterns of English compound nouns.

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