Opposite effects of accentuation and deaccentuation on verification latencies for given and new information

J. Terken, S.G. Nooteboom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    115 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Accentuation results in faster recognition of words expressing new (focal) information. To find out whether accentuation speeds up the comprehension of words expressing given information as well, the presence or absence of accents was varied independently for these categories in three experiments. Degree of Givenness was varied across experiments. Listeners verified spoken descriptions of pictures. Accentuation was found to interact with the Given/New variable: Given information was verified faster when the word expressing it was unaccented, New information was verified faster when the word expressing it was accented. These findings suggest that listeners do not simply give more attention to accented words, but rather process accented and unaccented words in different ways. It is hypothesized that the presence of an accent leads the listener to give primary attention to the acoustic/phonetic properties of the word and to construct an interpretation from the bottom up, and that the absence of an accent on a word leads him to map it onto the limited set of discourse entities which are currently activated, with less attention for the acoustic/phonetic properties.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-163
    Number of pages19
    JournalLanguage and cognitive processes
    Volume2
    Issue number3-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1987

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