The role of stress and word size in Spanish speech segmentation

Amy LaCross, Julie Liss, Beatriz Barragan, Ashley Adams, Visar Berisha, Megan McAuliffe, Robert Fromont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In English, the predominance of stressed syllables as word onsets AIDS lexical segmentation in degraded listening conditions. Yet it is unlikely that these findings would readily transfer to languages with differing rhythmic structure. In the current study, the authors seek to examine whether listeners exploit both common word size (syllable number) and stress cues to aid lexical segmentation in Spanish. Forty-seven Spanish-speaking listeners transcribed two-word Spanish phrases in noise. As predicted by the statistical probabilities of Spanish, error analysis revealed that listeners preferred two- and three-syllable words with penultimate stress in their attempts to parse the degraded speech signal. These findings provide insight into the importance of stress in tandem with word size in the segmentation of Spanish words and suggest testable hypotheses for cross-linguistic studies that examine the effects of degraded acoustic cues on lexical segmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4971227
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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