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Re: Stress question

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Thursday, July 26, 2001, 13:18
Eric Christopherson wrote:

> > Your first secondary stress rule is, well, weird. It's unlikely > > that you'd locate primary stress with reference to the right > > edge, then "double back" to locate secondary stresses. > > Really? I'm quite surprised, as that's how I tend to analyze my own accent > patterns in English.
I believe he was talking about predictable systems, where, unlike English, stress is not phonemic (cf. "incite" [In.'saIt] vs. "insight" ['In.saIt]).
> > Here's an example. Start on the left edge and stress every other > > syllable (shown by an "x" above the vowel of the syllable; the > > bracket shows the reference edge): > > Hmm, I hadn't ever heard of an accent system counting syllables from the > *left* before, although I have heard of ones that always stress the very > first syllable. But I don't see why it shouldn't be possible.
Well there are three distinct issues here: what type of feet the language has, the way in which foot structure is assigned to syllables, and where the primary stress (if any) is placed. (1) The first can be further divided into two questions: is the foot binary (must have two moras or syllables), or can it be degenerate (having one mora or syllable) or ternary, quaternary, etc.; and, where in the foot does stress go? Most languages like having binary feet, as seen in Dirk's example. That variable predicts the rate of iteration -- there'll be y number of stresses for every x number of syllables or moras. Next, if these feet are binary, then does the stress go on the first or second syllable internally? If the first, it's a trochee; if the second, an iamb (from poetics, obviously). If the feet are not binary, that's because, in Optimality-Theoretic terms, some constraint like Parse-syl (see below) outranks Ft-Bin. (2) Second, languages can simply assign which edge of the word it wants the stress to start from. In OT, these are known as the All-Feet-Right and All-Feet-Left constraints (which are mutually exclusive). If these constraints are not dominated by any other constraints, then you end up having a noniterative stress system, i.e., one where there is only one stress per word. If, on the other hand, the higher ranked one of these (either AFL or AFR) is dominated by a third constraint, Parse-syl, which says that all syllables should be parsed into feet, then you'll have an iterative system, where whatever footype you have, that will be repeated to the other edge of the word unless it runs into yet another constraint (like Non-Finality, which makes the last syllable of a word extrametrical for purposes of stress). (3) Primary stress, in OT, is determined by yet another set of constraints: Main-Foot-Left, or Main-Foot-Right. Note that because these are separate constraints from AFL and AFR, you base the foot structure from edge X of the word, while assigning primary stress from edge Y, the opposite edge. (Obviously, the primary stress constraint has to outrank AFL or AFR.) Thus, in a roundabout response to your comment, from which edge you start assigning feet is actually integrally linked to the rest of the foot structure. This is one of the neat things about OT, that, despite some of the faults I've mentioned before, it can tie seemingly different phenomena together. =================================== Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier "Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn; autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos