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Spanish Stress Assignment within the Analogical Modeling of Language

David Eddington
Language
Vol. 76, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 92-109
DOI: 10.2307/417394
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/417394
Page Count: 18
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Spanish Stress Assignment within the Analogical Modeling of Language
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Abstract

The advent of nonlinear phonology has resulted in an explosion of studies relating to Spanish syllable structure and stress placement, but most of these studies claim to represent linguistic competence and language structure, not actual mechanisms used by speakers in speech production and comprehension. The present study is couched within Skousen's ANALOGICAL MODELING OF LANGUAGE (AML) (1989, 1992, 1995). AML attempts to reflect how speakers determine linguistic behaviors such as stress placement. According to AML, when an unfamiliar word needs to be stressed, speakers access their mental lexicon, search for words similar to the word in question, then apply the stress of the word(s) found to the word in question. The 4,970 most common Spanish words served as the database for the study. AML correctly assigned stress to about 94% of these words. The errors it made closely reflect the pattern of errors made by Spanish-speaking children in a study by Hochberg (1988). Moreover, Aske's nonce word probe (1990) showed that native speakers are sensitive to a certain subpattern in Spanish stress assignment-a subpattern which does not receive representation in rule models. The analogical model of Spanish stress mirrors Aske's findings.

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