prosody, speech, heteronyms


Prosody refers to the natural stress, inflection, and intonation typical of everyday speech. In written English, prosody is not characteristically highlighted beyond syntax and punctuation. The study exploits stylistic changes to print (e.g., CAPs) to elicit prosodic emphasis when reading sentences containing heteronyms. Heteronyms are words with identical spellings, but different meanings depending on the syllable that is stressed in their pronunciation (consider the different denotations of PROduce and proDUCE). Participants will read aloud sentences in which the stylistic stress is congruent or incongruent with the word’s pronounced stress. Because prosthetic-stress-marking may notably aid students with lower reading proficiency, the American National Adult Reading Test will also be administered. Pronunciation accuracy, reading speed, and text comprehension will be measured to determine if STRESS-highlighting can facilitate the reading of potentially ambiguous written words.