Assignment of accent patterns to nonword items in a rapid reading task by Japanese speakers of the Kansai dialect


Previous studies have reported the strong influence of phonotactic knowledge on a variety of language tasks. For example, nonwords composed of phoneme combinations that occur frequently in a particular language are recalled accurately in a short-term memory task. In this study, we investigated the role of another type of phonological knowledge, prosodic knowledge, which has thus far been neglected. For this purpose, an accent-pattern assignment task with tri-mora nonwords was performed by Japanese speakers of the Kansai dialect under the assumption that the phonological system might assign the typical accent pattern, which reflects accumulated knowledge about accent patterns that occur in the language environment, to non-lexical items. However, the proportion of accent patterns produced did not reflect the frequency of each accent pattern in the Kansai dialect; instead, it reflected the proportion in the Standard Japanese language, to which all Japanese speakers have presumably been exposed by the broadcast media.

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