High-frequency initialisms: Evidence for Singaporean English stress

E-Ching Ng


In light of recent findings that Singlish (Colloquial Singaporean English) makes use of three densely distributed tones in its intonation, it has been suggested that this variety of English may lack stress. Here I show that initialisms such as NTUC (National Trade Unions Congress) display tonal variation which cannot be explained straightforwardly in terms of lexical access routes, but indicate recursive prosodic word structures linked to lexical frequency. This analysis is supported by frequency counts and acoustic measurements, and represents not only evidence of stress in Singlish, but multiple levels of stress.


laboratory phonology; prosodic hierarchy; stress; intonation; world Englishes; abbreviations; compounds

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4517

Copyright (c) 2019 E-Ching Ng

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