Prefixes repel stress in reading aloud: Evidence from surface dyslexia

Maria Ktori, Jeremy Tree, Petroula Mousikou, Max Coltheart, Kathleen Rastle

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This study examined the importance of prefixes as sublexicalcues for stress assignment during reading aloud English disyllabic words.In particular, we tested the hypothesis that prefixes repel stress(Rastle & Coltheart, 2000) by investigating the likelihood with whichpatients with surface dyslexia assign second-syllable stress to prefixedwords. Five such patients were presented with three types of disyllabicwords for reading aloud: 'regular' prefixed words with weak-strong stresspattern (e.g., remind); 'irregular' prefixed words with strong-weakstress pattern (e.g., reflex); and non-prefixed words with strong-weakstress pattern (e.g., scandal). Results showed that all five patientsfrequently regularized the strong-weak prefixed words by pronouncing themwith second syllable stress. These regularization errors provide strongevidence for the functional role of prefixes in stress assignment duringreading. Additional computational simulations using the rule-basedalgorithm for pronouncing disyllables developed by Rastle and Coltheart(2000) and the CDP++ model of reading aloud (Perry et al., 2010) allowedus to evaluate how these two opponent approaches to reading aloud fare inrespect of the patient data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191–205
Number of pages15
Early online date31 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Reading aloud; Prefixes, Surface dyslexia, Computational modeling

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