15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Stress Assignment on Non-Words: A Lexical Approach

Susan G. Guion, Tetsuo Harada, J. J. Clark

University of Oregon, USA

Seventeen native English speakers participated in an investigation of language users' knowledge of stress patterns. Forty two-syllable non-words of varying syllabic structure were produced as nouns and verbs. Preference for first or second syllable stress of the same words was determined in a perception task. In addition, lexical neighbors of the non-words were collected. Both syllabic structure and lexical class (noun or verb) had independent effects on stress assignment. The effects of syllabic structure and lexical class were not always in agreement with predictions made by traditional stress rules. In logistic regression analyses, predictions of stress placement made by (1) traditional stress rules, (2) lexical class, and (3) stress patterns of lexical neighbors all contributed independently to the prediction of stress assignment. The results support the hypothesis that words are stored with stress information and that stress is assigned to novel words based on similarity to stored lexical items as well as statistical knowledge about the patterning of stress placement across the lexicon.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Guion, Susan G. / Harada, Tetsuo / Clark, J. J. (2003): "Stress assignment on non-words: a lexical approach", In ICPhS-15, 2035-2038.