Psychologist to study how we put stress into words

Dec 06, 2006

How does a child learn that the stress is on the second syllable of giraffe, and on the first of zebra? Is it memory, the structure of the word itself or clues provided by the sounds in the word?

New research by psychologist Dr Padraic Monaghan, of the University of York, will try to answer the question. He is leading a new project to study the mechanism of language processing that governs how stress is assigned in words.

The research findings may help in the treatment of reading difficulties and assist in learning a second language, as well as potentially helping recovery after brain injury.

In a joint study with social scientists at Charles Sturt University, in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, he will examine what role the mechanism plays in learning to read. The research, which is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Australian Research Council, will also focus on the variation between languages in the patterns of stress.

Dr Monaghan, of the University of York’s Department of Psychology, said: "This research has implications for the developmental processes of reading and language development. It is critically important to be able to understand the process of reading in order to more thoroughly help children with difficulties in reading.

"We shall also look at the sources of information in English, Dutch, German, and Italian to see if similar processes apply in learning to read in these languages. We predict that each language will have a different set of subtle combinations to help in stress assignment, and the extent to which these differ across languages should be a contributor to ease of second language learning.

"The research will also give important insights into the neurological representation of language, with implications for impairment and recovery following brain injury."

Source: University of York

Explore further: Brief intervention may prevent increased risk of depression in teens

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why dogs are the new darlings of cognitive science

May 23, 2014

This will be his earliest memory. Red light, morning light. High ceiling canted overhead. Lazy click of toenails on wood. Between the honey-colored slats of the crib a whiskery muzzle slides forward until it ...

Recommended for you

Mother-daughter research team studies severe-weather phobia

Sep 19, 2014

No one likes severe weather, but for some just the thought of a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane or blizzard can severely affect their lives. When blood pressures spike, individuals obsessively monitor weather forecasts and ...

Study: Pupil size shows reliability of decisions

Sep 18, 2014

Te precision with which people make decisions can be predicted by measuring pupil size before they are presented with any information about the decision, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Bi ...

User comments : 0