Stress assignment in reading Italian: Friendship outweighs dominance

Stress assignment to polysyllabic words is the only aspect of the pronunciation of written Italian that cannot be predicted by rule. It could be a function of stress dominance in the language or of stress neighborhood (i.e., the number of words sharing an ending and a stress pattern). In two experiments, we investigated stress assignment in Italian adult and, most importantly, young readers. Word frequency and number of stress friends influenced reading times and accuracy, outweighing any effect of stress dominance. In the presence of a majority of stress friends, the reading of low-frequency words was only affected by stress neighborhood. These effects were the same in fourth graders and adult readers. We argue that distributional information based on the number of stress friends-rather than stress dominance-is the most effective factor in assigning stress to words in reading.

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Burani, Cristina
Paizi, Despina
Sulpizio, Simone
Psychonomic Society], [Austin, Texas, Stati Uniti d'America
Memory & cognition 42 (2014): 662–675. doi:10.3758/s13421-013-0379-5
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Burani, Cristina; Paizi, Despina; Sulpizio, Simone/titolo:Stress assignment in reading Italian: Friendship outweighs dominance/doi:10.3758/s13421-013-0379-5/rivista:Memory & cognition/anno:2014/pagina_da:662/pagina_a:675/interva
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Ritratto di Cristina Burani
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