Interpreting experience enhances the use of lexical stress and syllabic structure to predict L2 word endings

Abstract

Prediction underlies many life’s situations including language. Monolinguals and advanced L2 learners use prosodic cues such as stress and tone in a word’s first syllable to predict the word’s suffix. To determine whether the same findings extend to words with non-morphological endings, we investigate whether Spanish monolinguals and advanced learners of Spanish with and without interpreting experience use stress (stressed, unstressed) and syllabic structure (CV, CVC) in a word’s initial syllable to predict its ending. This is crucial to understand whether associations underlying prediction are morphophonolexical associations or purely phonolexical. Interpreters were included due to their extensive experience predicting incoming speech. Participants completed an eye-tracking study where they listened to a sentence while seeing two words and selected the word they heard. Results revealed that monolinguals and interpreters predicted word endings under all conditions, but non-interpreters only predicted in the CVC oxytone condition. These findings are relevant for (1) prediction accounts, showing that phonolexical associations trigger prediction; (2) phonological models, revealing that stress and syllable information in the initial syllable are key for accessing and predicting meaning; and (3) L2 processing models, indicating that L2 learners with interpreting experience use suprasegmental information to access and predict lexical items similar to monolinguals.

Publication
Applied Psycholinguistics
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