Previous research using monitoring tasks suggests that syllables do not play a role in the initial processing of speech by English listeners. The role of syllables in a different task, one involving the speeded comparison of 2 nonwords, was investigated. In 2 experiments, responses to nonword pairs that shared a complete syllable were significantly faster than responses to pairs that shared part of a syllable when the shared unit was at the beginning or in the middle of the nonwords. Results were mixed when the shared unit was at the end of the nonwords, possibly reflecting a confounding effect of rhyme. Findings suggest
that syllabified representations of the nonwords may be used in a comparison task, even in English. Results are interpreted relative to different demands of the nonword comparison and monitoring tasks.