The predictive function of Swedish word accents

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Swedish lexical word accents have been repeatedly said to have a low functional load. Even so, the language has kept these tones ever since they emerged probably over a thousand years ago. This article proposes that the primary function of word accents is for listeners to be able to predict upcoming morphological structures and narrow down the lexical competition rather than being lexically distinctive. Psycho- and neurophysiological evidence for the predictive function of word accents is discussed. A novel analysis displays that word accents have a facilitative role in word processing. Specifically, a correlation is revealed between how much incorrect word accents hinder listeners’ processing and how much they reduce response times when correct. Finally, a dual-route model of the predictive use of word accents with distinct neural substrates is put forth.
Sidor (från-till)1-11
TidskriftFrontiers in Psychology
StatusPublished - 2022

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
  • Språkstudier


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