An Optimality Theoretic Analysis of Stress Assignment in the English Production of English Majors at

Muta University

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis within the Optimality Theory framework of the transfer of stress rules in the English production of native speakers of Jordanian Arabic majoring in English at Mu'tah University. Contrary to the current belief part of which expressed in the scanty relevant literature, this paper demonstrates that the Jordanian Arabic stress system is not transferred in its entirety. I argue that the stress system found in the English production of native speakers of Jordanian Arabic learning English is due to the working of anĀ InterlanguageĀ hierarchy of constraints some of which are identical to those of the native language, some are modified versions of the native language constraints, and others are independent of the native language. I also argue that, not only does the hierarchy involve constraint ranking that is different from that of the native language, but also that the ranking of some constraints has not yet been settled in the Interlanguage of these learners.