In the line of the monitoring studies initiated by Mehler et al. (1981), a group of Italian listeners were asked to detect auditory CV and CVC targets in carrier words beginning with a CV, a CVC, or a CVG (G = geminate) syllable with variable initial syllable stress. By slowing participants reaction times (RTs), using both catch and foil trials, a syllable effect was found, partially modulated by participants' speed and stress location. When catch trials were removed in a second experiment the syllable effect was not observed, even if RTs were similar to that of the first experiment. We discuss these data in relation to the language transparency hypothesis, the nature of the pivotal consonant, and the resonance-based ART model for speech perception (Grossberg, 2003).
Keywords: Italian; lexical access; prelexical processing; spoken word recognition; syllable; syllable-timed languages.