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: Teen suicides by hanging on the rise across U.S.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Supercomputing the evolution of a model flower

Jan 27, 2015

Scientists using supercomputers found genes sensitive to cold and drought in a plant help it survive climate change. These findings increase basic understanding of plant adaptation and can be applied to improve ...

Recommended for you

No link between psychedelics and mental health problems

6 hours ago

The use of psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 135,000 randomly chosen people, including ...

Antibodies to brain proteins may trigger psychosis

6 hours ago

Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop.

Stigma of mental illness in India linked to poverty

8 hours ago

The stigma surrounding people with severe mental illness in India leads to increased poverty among them, especially women, according to new research led by Jean-Francois Trani, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.