Stress in context: Morpho-syntactic properties affect lexical stress assignment in reading aloud

Giacomo Spinelli, Simone Sulpizio, Silvia Primativo, Cristina Burani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent findings from English and Russian have shown that grammatical category plays a key role in stress assignment. In these languages, some grammatical categories have a typical stress pattern and this information is used by readers. However, whether readers are sensitive to smaller distributional differences and other morpho-syntactic properties (e.g., gender, number, person) remains unclear. We addressed this issue in word and non-word reading in Italian, a language in which: (1) nouns and verbs differ in the proportion of words with a dominant stress pattern; (2) information specified by words sharing morpho-syntactic properties may contrast with other sources of information, such as stress neighborhood. Both aspects were addressed in two experiments in which context words were used to induce the desired morpho-syntactic properties. Experiment 1 showed that the relatively different proportions of stress patterns between grammatical categories do not affect stress processing in word reading. In contrast, Experiment 2 showed that information specified by words sharing morpho-syntactic properties outweighs stress neighborhood in non-word reading. Thus, while general information specified by grammatical categories may not be used by Italian readers, stress neighbors with morpho-syntactic properties congruent with those of the target stimulus have a primary role in stress assignment. These results underscore the importance of expanding investigations of stress assignment beyond single words, as current models of single-word reading seem unable to account for our results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number942
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume7
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Reading
Language
Word Processing

Keywords

  • Grammatical category
  • Morpho-syntactic context
  • Reading aloud
  • Stress assignment
  • Stress neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Stress in context : Morpho-syntactic properties affect lexical stress assignment in reading aloud. / Spinelli, Giacomo; Sulpizio, Simone; Primativo, Silvia; Burani, Cristina.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 7, No. JUN, 942, 22.06.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Spinelli, Giacomo ; Sulpizio, Simone ; Primativo, Silvia ; Burani, Cristina. / Stress in context : Morpho-syntactic properties affect lexical stress assignment in reading aloud. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 2016 ; Vol. 7, No. JUN.
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