Age-of-acquisition affects word naming in Italian only when stress is irregular

Maximiliano A Wilson, Andrew W Ellis, Cristina Burani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Italian, effects of age of acquisition (AoA) have been found in object naming, semantic categorization of words and lexical decision, but not in word naming (reading aloud). The lack of an AoA effect in Italian word naming is replicated in Experiment 1 which involved reading aloud two-syllable words which all have regular spelling-sound correspondences and regular stress patterns. Studies of English word naming have reported stronger effects of AoA for irregular or exception words than for words with regular, consistent spelling-sound correspondences. There are no grapheme-phoneme irregularities in Italian, but words containing three or more syllables can carry either regular stress on the penultimate syllable or irregular stress on the antepenultimate syllable. Experiment 2 found effects of AoA on reading three-syllable words for words with irregular stress. The results are interpreted in terms of the 'mapping hypothesis' of AoA, with effects arising as a result of a difficulty to generalize earlier-acquired patterns to irregular late-acquired words.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-424
JournalActa psychologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Reading
  • Language Development
  • Phonetics
  • Humans
  • Adult
  • Vocabulary
  • Language
  • Italy
  • Semantics

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