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Lexical Specification of Prosodic Information in Swedish: Evidence from Mismatch Negativity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4355-1390
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8036-516X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0034-0924
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-4548, E-ISSN 1662-453X, Vol. 10, 533Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Like that of many other Germanic languages, the stress system of Swedish has mainly undergone phonological analysis. Recently, however, researchers have begun to recognize the central role of morphology in these systems. Similar to the lexical specification of tonal accent, the Swedish stress system is claimed to be morphologically determined and morphemes are thus categorized as prosodically specified and prosodically unspecified. Prosodically specified morphemes bear stress information as part of their lexical representations and are classified as tonic (i.e., lexically stressed), pretonic and posttonic, whereas prosodically unspecified morphemes receive stress through a phonological rule that is right-edge oriented, but is sensitive to prosodic specification at that edge. The presence of prosodic specification is inferred from vowel quality and vowel quantity; if stress moves elsewhere, vowel quality and quantity change radically in phonologically stressed morphemes, whereas traces of stress remain in lexically stressed morphemes. The present study is the first to investigate whether stress is a lexical property of Swedish morphemes by comparing mismatch negativity (MMN) responses to vowel quality and quantity changes in phonologically stressed and lexically stressed words. In a passive oddball paradigm, 15 native speakers of Swedish were presented with standards and deviants, which differed from the standards in formant frequency and duration. Given that vowel quality and quantity changes are associated with morphological derivations only in phonologically stressed words, MMN responses are expected to be greater in phonologically stressed words than in lexically stressed words that lack such an association. The results indicated that the processing differences between phonologically and lexically stressed words were reflected in the amplitude and topography of MMN responses. Confirming the expectation, MMN amplitude was greater for the phonologically stressed word than for the lexically stressed word and showed a more widespread topographic distribution. The brain did not only detect vowel quality and quantity changes but also used them to activate memory traces associated with derivations. The present study therefore implies that morphology is directly involved in the Swedish stress system and that changes in phonological shape due to stress shift cue upcoming stress and potential addition of a morpheme.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 10, 533
Keyword [en]
Swedish stress, morphology, prosody, memory trace, EEG, MMN
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134586DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00533ISI: 000388649600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134586DiVA: diva2:1034436
Available from: 2016-10-11 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mapping prosody onto the lexicon: Memory traces for lexically specified prosodic information in the brain
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping prosody onto the lexicon: Memory traces for lexically specified prosodic information in the brain
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lexical access, the matching of auditory information onto lexical representations in the brain, is a crucial component of online language processing. To understand the nature of lexical access, it is important to identify the kind of acoustic information that is stored in the long-term memory and to study how the brain uses such information. This dissertation investigates the contribution of prosodic information to lexical access and examines language-specific processing mechanisms by studying three typologically distinct languages: English, Turkish, and Swedish. The main research objective is to demonstrate the activation of long-term memory traces for words on the sole basis of prosodic information and to test the accuracy of typological phonological descriptions suggested in the literature by studying electrophysiological measurements of brain activation. A secondary research objective is to evaluate three distinct electrophysiological recording systems. The dissertation is based on three papers, each examining neural responses to prosodic changes in one of the three languages with a different recording system. The first two papers deal directly with the interplay between prosody and the lexicon, and investigate whether prosodic changes activate memory traces associated with segmentally identical but prosodically different words; the third paper introduces morphology to this process and investigates whether prosodic changes activate memory traces associated with potential lexical derivations. Neural responses demonstrate that prosodic information indeed activates memory traces associated with words and their potential derivations without any given context. Strongly connected neural networks are argued to guarantee neural activation and implementation of long-term memory traces. Regardless of differences in prosodic typology, all languages exploit prosodic information for lexical processing, although to different extents. The amount of neural activation elicited by a particular piece of prosodic information is positively correlated with the strength of its lexical representation in the brain, which is called lexical specification. This dissertation could serve as a first step towards building an electrophysiological-perceptual taxonomy of prosodic processing based on lexical specification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, 2016. 112 p.
Keyword
lexical access, prosody, neuroimaging, electroencephalography, event-related potentials, memory trace, typology, English, Turkish, Swedish
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134571 (URN)978-91-7649-557-5 (ISBN)978-91-7649-558-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-02, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-09 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Zora, HaticeRiad, TomasSchwarz, Iris-CorinnaHeldner, Mattias
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PhoneticsDepartment of Swedish Language and MultilingualismDepartment of Linguistics
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