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The Iambic-trochaic Law (ITL) is an auditory grouping mechanism according to which sequences of sounds varying in intensity/pitch are grouped as trochees, while those varying in duration are grouped as iambs. We showed that the ITL is modulated by native language, different biases being found in adult speakers of languages contrasting either in lexical stress (French vs German) or phrasal prosody (Spanish vs Basque). Developmental work shows these grouping principles are emerging early in life with a possible link to the emergence of word segmentation abilities.

Project team lead
Thierry Nazzi