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Stress assignment in reading aloud in Spanish

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 July 2020

Nicolás Gutiérrez-Palma*
University of Jaen
Paz Suárez-Coalla
University of Oviedo
Fernando Cuetos
University of Oviedo
*Corresponding author. Email:


Correct stress assignment is a requirement for fluent reading in alphabetic languages. This study focuses on two nonlexical mechanisms at the core of stress assignment. In particular, the use of a default stress pattern (e.g., penultimate stress) and the Spanish stress mark. In Experiment 1, participants read aloud words and pseudowords with different stress types (on the antepenultimate or the penultimate syllable), and with or without a stress mark. Results showed longer reaction times (RTs) for words and pseudowords with antepenultimate stress. However, as words with antepenultimate stress always have a stress mark, it could be argued that stress type differences could be due to the presence of the stress mark. In Experiment 2, using a priming procedure participants read aloud words and pseudowords in pure versus mixed stress blocks. Again, words and pseudowords with antepenultimate stress were read slower (longer RTs), suggesting that previous differences were due to stress mark rather than stress type. These results indicate that processing stress marks is cognitively demanding when reading in Spanish.

Original Article
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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