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Stress-timing and syllable-timing reanalyzed

Journal of Phonetics (Impact Factor: 1.41). 01/1983; 11:51-62.
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    ABSTRACT: In a syllable monitoring experiment, Greek and English speakers (N = 20 per language) monitored for [ma] embedded in Greek real and nonce words; [ma] was word-initial, word-medial or word-final, and stressed, unstressed or rhythmically stressed. Both groups spotted stressed [ma] faster than unstressed [ma]; unstressed [ma] was spotted faster by Greek than English participants. Rhythmically stressed [ma] patterned with unstressed [ma] for both groups. Word category (real or nonce) did not affect latencies. These results show that stress played an important role whether participants were responding to unfamiliar (nonce) stimuli (Greeks) or processing in an altogether unfamiliar language with different stress requirements (English). The importance of stress did not depend on rhythm class, as has sometimes been argued, though familiarity with language did affect responses. The results do not support the view that processing is related to rhythm class and confirm that Greek makes only a binary stress distinction.
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