Papuan Malay word stress reduces lexical alternatives

Constantijn Kaland, Vincent J. van Heuven

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeContribution to conference proceedingsScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the extent to which word stress facilitates word disambiguation in Papuan Malay. Although there is consistent acoustic support for word stress patterns in this language, the function of word stress in Indonesian languages, including Papuan Malay, has been disputed in several studies. Based on a word list of phonetically transcribed Papuan Malay words, an analysis of word-embeddings was carried out. The number of words that are embedded in other words was shown to explain the role of word stress in the word recognition processes cross-linguistically. The results of the lexical analysis indicate that Papuan Malay is somewhat similar to English, a language where word stress differences are mainly signalled by vowel quality and to a lesser extent by suprasegmental cues. The results are discussed within the context of cross-linguistic cues to word stress and shed a new light on the controversy concerning word stress in Indonesian languages.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 25 May 202028 May 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
ISSN (Print)2333-2042


Conference10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020
Internet address


  • Lexical analysis
  • Word recognition
  • Word stress


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