The experiments reported here were designed to investigate the influence of stress typicality during speeded grammatical classification of disyllabic English words by native and non-native speakers. Trochaic nouns and iambic verbs were considered to be typically stressed, whereas iambic nouns and trochaic verbs were considered to be atypically stressed. Experiments la and 2a showed that while native speakers classified typically stressed words more quickly and more accurately than atypically stressed words during reading, there were no overall effects during classification of spoken stimuli. However, a subgroup of native speakers with high error rates did show a significant effect during classification of spoken stimuli. Experiments 1b and 2b showed that non-native speakers classified typically stressed words more quickly and more accurately than atypically stressed words during reading. Typically stressed words were classified more accurately than atypically stressed words when the stimuli were spoken. Importantly, there was a significant relationship between error rates, vocabulary size and the size of the stress typicality effect in each experiment. We conclude that participants use information about lexical stress to help them distinguish between disyllabic nouns and verbs during speeded grammatical classification. This is especially so for individuals with a limited vocabulary who lack other knowledge (e.g., semantic knowledge) about the differences between these grammatical categories.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Language and speech|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|