It´s all about the rhythm - A neurocognitive approach towards the Rhythm Rule in German and English
The aim of the present doctoral thesis is to gain deeper insight into the cognitive processing of rhythmically irregular structures in form of stress clashes and stress lapses in comparison to structures that follow the Rhythm Rule. Although stress clashes and stress lapses are allowed and hence pre...
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|Summary:||The aim of the present doctoral thesis is to gain deeper insight into the cognitive processing of rhythmically irregular structures in form of stress clashes and stress lapses in comparison to structures that follow the Rhythm Rule. Although stress clashes and stress lapses are allowed and hence present in speech, they are nonetheless marked as rhythmically ill-formed. Hence, since rhythmically induced stress shifts appear often in languages like German, and especially English, it was decided to investigate how the brain reacts to structures that do not meet with rhythmic expectations but are allowed in the investigated language. In this respect, this rhythmic phenomenon differs from the rhythmic deviation types that have been investigated to date. Four studies comprising five experiments using the ERP technique were conducted within the scope of the present thesis. In order to support and complement the findings of the ERP studies, an additional production and perception study and two reaction time studies were designed and undertaken on German rhythmic irregularities. Three ERP studies were conducted on the cognitive processing of rhythmic irregularities in German phrases and compounds. Due to the given task settings in the ERP studies, measured reaction times were not meaningful. Therefore, independent reaction time studies with the identical set of stimuli were performed and are reported with the corresponding ERP studies. Based on the findings of the first ERP experiment on German phrases, a follow-up study was conducted in which the sensitivity towards attentional and contextual influences was further tested by using modified task settings and adjusted stimuli presentation modalities. The study on German compounds consists of two experiments which tried to shed further light on the task-sensitivity of the ERP components found in the studies on German phrases. A further ERP study was set up in order to compare the influence of the RR on processing in German and English by using similar deviations in English. Therefore, English compounds were tested either obeying or deviating from this rule. Moreover, due to the aforementioned syntactic differences between stress shift targets in German and English, this study allowed for a combined yet disentangled investigation of rhythmical and lexical influences on speech processing. In previous research, the application of the RR in speech production was mainly investigated on English data and exclusively in compound structures in German. Therefore, an additional production and perception study was used as a pre-test for the planned ERP studies on German. Investigating the application and perception of the RR should deliver further insights into its importance in German not only on the word level (in compounds) but also on the phrasal level and therefore complement and extend the findings of previous studies.|