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Quasi-neutralization of stress contrasts in Spanish

Torreira, F., Simonet, M., & Hualde, J. I. (2014). Quasi-neutralization of stress contrasts in Spanish. In N. Campbell, D. Gibbon, & D. Hirst (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2014 (pp. 197-201).
We investigate the realization and discrimination of lexical stress contrasts in pitch-unaccented words in phrase-medial position in Spanish, a context in which intonational pitch accents are frequently absent. Results from production and perception experiments show that in this context durational and intensity cues to stress are produced by speakers and used by listeners above chance level. However, due to substantial amounts of phonetic overlap between stress categories in production, and of numerous errors in the identification of stress categories in perception, we suggest that, in the absence of intonational cues, Spanish speakers engaged in online language use must rely on contextual information in order to distinguish stress contrasts.
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