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Danish stød as a cue to upcoming suffixes : an ERP and response time study


Summary, in English

Prosodic cues such as stress and tones can help listeners predict upcoming structures and get a first crack at rapidly unfolding speech. The prosodic feature stød in Danish can distinguish word meanings but also signal imminent structures. For instance, monosyllabic nouns with stød lose stød when followed by the plural indefinite suffix -e. Suffixes invalidly cued by stød or non-stød have been found to produce longer response times (Clausen & Kristensen 2015), but so far, stød has not been examined with the event-related potential technique (ERP). An ERP study can give insights into what neural processes cause the previously found longer response times. In this study, effects of mismatches between stød or non-stød on stems and suffixes were tested for 16 speakers of Danish in a combined response time/ERP study. Invalidly cued suffixes produced longer response times and the ERP components N400 and P600, which have been associated with prediction error and reanalysis of forms, indicating that expectations were not met. Further, stød produced a negativity at 260-430 ms after stød onset which was interpreted as a pre-activation negativity (PrAN). This is in line with stød occurring under more restricted conditions and thus being a more reliable cue than non-stød because it activates fewer forms in the mental lexicon. The findings indicate that stød has a predictive function and that speakers use it as a cue to make forecasts about upcoming structures.

Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • stød
  • Danish
  • prosody
  • N400
  • P600
  • pre-activation negativity
  • PrAN


  • Mikael Roll