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Perceptual correlates of Turkish word stress and their contribution to automatic lexical access: Evidence from early ERP components
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4355-1390
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0034-0924
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8036-516X
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-4548, E-ISSN 1662-453X, Vol. 10, 7Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Perceptual correlates of Turkish word stress and their contribution to lexical access were studied using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component in event-related potentials (ERPs). The MMN was expected to indicate if segmentally identical Turkish words were distinguished on the sole basis of prosodic features such as fundamental frequency (f0), spectral emphasis (SE) and duration. The salience of these features in lexical access was expected to be reflected in the amplitude of MMN responses. In a multi-deviant oddball paradigm, neural responses to changes in f0, SE, and duration individually, as well as to all three features combined, were recorded for words and pseudowords presented to 14 native speakers of Turkish. The word and pseudoword contrast was used to differentiate language-related effects from acoustic-change effects on the neural responses. First and in line with previous findings, the overall MMN was maximal over frontal and central scalp locations. Second, changes in prosodic features elicited neural responses both in words and pseudowords, confirming the brain’s automatic response to any change in auditory input. However, there were processing differences between the prosodic features, most significantly in f0: While f0 manipulation elicited a slightly right-lateralized frontally-maximal MMN in words, it elicited a frontal P3a in pseudowords. Considering that P3a is associated with involuntary allocation of attention to salient changes, the manipulations of f0 in the absence of lexical processing lead to an intentional evaluation of pitch change. f0 is therefore claimed to be lexically specified in Turkish. Rather than combined features, individual prosodic features differentiate language-related effects from acoustic-change effects. The present study confirms that segmentally identical words can be distinguished on the basis of prosodic information alone, and establishes the salience of f0 in lexical access.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 10, 7
Keyword [en]
Turkish, prosody, word stress, lexical access, event-related potential
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125417DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00007ISI: 000368584900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-125417DiVA: diva2:892722
Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-12-28Bibliographically 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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