Lexical Stress Patterns in High-Frequency Words of Spoken English


  • Valentina Rapajić




English, lexical stress, lexical stress patterns, high-frequency general English lexis, high-frequency academic English lexis, teaching and learning, SLA


Lexical stress patterns exhibited by the most frequent English words are significant for teaching practice as well as for SLA research, although they have received much less attention than frequency effects in other segments of language structure. This paper describes and ranks lexical stress patterns according to their share in the most frequent lexis in general and academic registers. The patterns identified in the corpus consisting of 2- to 6- syllable words in the Longman Communication 3000 frequency list (that provides data on the most frequent words in general English) are compared to previous researchers’ data obtained from the corpus based on the Hoosier Mental Lexicon (that provides data on native speakers’ familiarity ratings and response time for high-frequency words) and the corpus based on the Academic Word List (consisting of the most frequent words in academic discourse). Although the three corpora vary in size and domain, in the two general English corpora there are strong correspondences reagarding 2- and 3-syllable words; with 4-syllable words correspondences are noted in all the three corpora. This validates dominant lexical stress patterns, to which the learners are most often exposed. Insight into the representation of lexical stress patterns in high-frequency lexis facilitates the selection of items for vocabulary exercises in language learning (intended not only for pronunciation practice but also for learners’ vocabulary development), as well as the selection of stimuli for experiments regarding L1 and L2 effects in interlanguage development.


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How to Cite

Rapajić, V. (2021). Lexical Stress Patterns in High-Frequency Words of Spoken English. Philologia, 18(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.18485/philologia.2020.18.18.1



Nauka o jeziku/Linguistics