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LINGUIST List 19.1929

Wed Jun 18 2008

Diss: Phonology/Psycholing: Shelton: 'An Experimental Approach to ...'

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        1.    Michael Shelton, An Experimental Approach to Syllable Weight and Stress in Spanish


Message 1: An Experimental Approach to Syllable Weight and Stress in Spanish
Date: 17-Jun-2008
From: Michael Shelton <msheltonoxy.edu>
Subject: An Experimental Approach to Syllable Weight and Stress in Spanish
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Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Program: Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Michael Shelton

Dissertation Title: An Experimental Approach to Syllable Weight and Stress in Spanish

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
                            Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Chip Gerfen
Judith F Kroll
Nicolás Gutiérrez Palma
Richard Page
John M Lipski

Dissertation Abstract:

This work examines the cognitive representation of phonotactic constraints
on Spanish stress via the collection of behavioral data. Critical stimuli
in four experiments consist of nonwords that violate the Spanish stress
window. Experiment 1 finds statistical differences among latency and
accuracy data for stimuli that represent theoretically proscribed
sequences, theoretically licit sequences that are unattested for diachronic
reasons, and fully licit gaps. Experiments 2 and 3 find differential
patterning of rising and falling diphthongs. Experiment 4 tests the time
course of phonological encoding and evidences differential treatment of
both diphthong types across delays in a delayed naming task. The data are
interpreted as evidence in favor of sensitivity to a continuum of weight
across the lexicon. The findings challenge traditional approaches to
syllable weight which call for a categorical, binary light/heavy
distinction. Rather, the results accord with a stochastic or probabilistic
conception of the lexicon in which speakers of a language are able to track
statistical patterns of extant combinations of sounds in order to construct
a phonological grammar that is gradient in nature. Implications for two
prominent psycholinguistic models of speech production (Levelt et al. 1999;
Dell 1986, 1988) are also discussed. Specifically, the findings challenge
the proponents of each model to account better for the interaction of
stress and syllable-level encoding, both as represented in the lexicon and
across time during processing.



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