Italians use abstract knowledge about lexical stress during spoken-word recognition
SourceJournal of Memory and Language, 66, 1, (2012), pp. 177-193
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Memory and Language
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Learning and Plasticity; Psycholinguistics
In two eye-tracking experiments in Italian, we investigated how acoustic information and stored knowledge about lexical stress are used during the recognition of tri-syllabic spoken words. Experiment 1 showed that Italians use acoustic cues to a word’s stress pattern rapidly in word recognition, but only for words with antepenultimate stress. Words with penultimate stress – the most common pattern – appeared to be recognized by default. In Experiment 2, listeners had to learn new words from which some stress cues had been removed, and then recognize reduced- and full-cue versions of those words. The acoustic manipulation affected recognition only of newly-learnt words with antepenultimate stress: Full-cue versions, even though they were never heard during training, were recognized earlier than reduced-cue versions. Newly-learnt words with penultimate stress were recognized earlier overall, but recognition of the two versions of these words did not differ. Abstract knowledge (i.e., knowledge generalized over the lexicon) about lexical stress – which pattern is the default and which cues signal the non-default pattern – appears to be used during the recognition of known and newly-learnt Italian words.
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