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The interplay of stress saliency and word beginning saliency: an experimental study

Cilibrasi, L. and Stojanovik, V. ORCID: (2020) The interplay of stress saliency and word beginning saliency: an experimental study. Linguistica Pragensia, 30 (2). pp. 113-126. ISSN 0862-8432

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To link to this item DOI: 10.14712/18059635.2020.2.1


There is a robust amount of evidence (mostly from English) suggesting that, while listening to speech, the initial part of words is scrutinised with more attention. Similarly, data suggests that stressed syllables are processed with more precision than unstressed syllables. How do these two kinds of saliencies interact? In this experimental study, the issue was investigated in a group of Italian speakers. Participants were presented with minimal pairs of nonwords differing in one individual phoneme (and specifically one trait, voicing). Nonwords were created as to contain phonological clusters in either an initial or medial position, and, similarly, stress was placed in either initial or medial position. Results show that when the clusters were in word medial position, there was a large effect of stress, with stressed syllables being recognised with greater accuracy. When the clusters were in initial position, instead, accuracy was at an intermediate level and we did not observe any effect of stress. The result is discussed in relation to previous literature addressing these phenomena in English.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:95541
Publisher:De Gruyter


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