Skip to main content Accessibility help

A neurolinguistic study of South Swedish word accents: Electrical brain potentials in nouns and verbs

  • Mikael Roll (a1)


The brain response to words with correct and incorrect word accent–suffix combinations in South Swedish was investigated using electroencephalography (EEG). Accent 1 yielded an increased brain response (‘preactivation negativity’) that has previously been interpreted as reflecting preactivation of suffixes. Preactivation is greater for accent 1 due to its association with a limited set of suffixes, whereas accent 2 is default for compound words. The tonal realization of the word accent opposition in South Swedish is practically the mirror image of that in Central Swedish, where a similar preactivation negativity has been found. Therefore, the brain response is unlikely to result from a difference in acoustic features between the word accents. Invalidly cued suffixes yielded brain response pattern showing increased processing load of the unexpected suffix (negative electric potential) followed by its reprocessing (positivity ‘P600’).



Hide All
Bruce, Gösta. 1973. Tonal accent rules for compound stressed words in the Malmö dialect. Working Papers, Phonetics Laboratory (Lund University) 7, 135.
Bruce, Gösta. 1976. Svenska accenter i ett satsperspektiv. Nysvenska studier 55/56, 120132.
Bruce, Gösta. 1977. Swedish Word Accents in Sentence Perspective. Lund: Gleerups.
Cutler, Anne, Dahan, Delphine & van Donselaar, Wilma. 1997. Prosody in the comprehension of spoken language: A literature review. Language and Speech 40 (2), 141201.
Dale, Anders Martin. 1999. Optimal experimental design for event-related fMRI. Human Brain Mapping 8, 109114.
Felder, Verena, Jönsson-Steiner, Elisabet & Eulitz, Carsten. 2009. Asymmetric processing of lexical tonal contrast in Swedish. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 71 (8), 18901899.
Frid, Johan. 2000. Compound accent patterns in some dialects of Southern Swedish. Fonetik 2000, 61–64.
Jung, Tzyy-Ping, Makeig, Scott, Humphries, Colin, Lee, Te-Won, McKeown, Martin James, Iragui, Vicente & Sejnowski, Terrence Joseph. 2000. Removing electroencephalographic artifacts by blind source separation. Psychophysiology 37, 163178.
Koester, Dirk & Schiller, Niels Olaf. 2011. The functional neuroanatomy of morphology in language production. NeuroImage 55, 732741.
Näätänen, Risto. 1992. Attention and Brain Function. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Nilsson, Jan, Panizza, Marcela & Hallett, Mark. 1993. Principles of digital sampling of a physiologic signal. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 89, 349358.
Riad, Tomas. 1998. The origin of Scandinavian tone accents. Diachronica 15 (1), 6398.
Riad, Tomas. 2014. The Phonology of Swedish. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rischel, J. 1963. Morphemic tone and word tone in Eastern Norwegian. Phonetica 10, 154164.
Roll, Mikael. 2015. ERP – exploring the temporal microstructure of cognitive functions in the brain. In Horne, Merle, Lindgren, Magnus, Nilsson, Markus, Roll, Mikael, Shtyrov, Yury, Ståhlberg, Freddy & Topgaard, Daniel (eds.), Microstructures of Learning, 2528. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA.
Roll, Mikael & Horne, Merle. 2011. Interaction of right- and left-edge prosodic boundaries in syntactic parsing. Brain Research 1402, 93100.
Roll, Mikael, Horne, Merle & Lindgren, Magnus. 2010. Word accents and morphology – ERPs of Swedish word processing. Brain Research 1330, 114123.
Roll, Mikael, Horne, Merle & Lindgren, Magnus. 2011. Activating without inhibiting: Left-edge boundary tones and syntactic processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (5), 11701179.
Roll, Mikael, Söderström, Pelle & Horne, Merle. 2013. Word-stem tones cue suffixes in the brain. Brain Research 1520, 116120.
Roll, Mikael, Söderström, Pelle, Mannfolk, Peter, Shtyrov, Yury, Johansson, Mikael, van Westen, Danielle & Horne, Merle. In press. Word tones cueing morphosyntactic structure: Neuroanatomical substrates and activation time course assessed by EEG-fMRI. Brain and Language.
Söderström, Pelle, Horne, Merle & Roll, Mikael. 2015. Stem tones preactivate suffixes in the brain. Ms., Lund University.
Söderström, Pelle, Roll, Mikael & Horne, Merle. 2012. Processing morphologically conditioned word accents. The Mental Lexicon 7 (1), 7789.
Tyler, Lorraine K., Marslen-Wilson, William D. & Stamatakis, Emmanuel A.. 2005. Differentiating lexical form, meaning and structure in the neural language system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102, 83758380.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed