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Phaleran Update: Stress

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, August 22, 2002, 11:59
Stress is something I've been mulling for a while now
with Phaleran.  The main question was: does it have entirely
phonemic stress, or can its stress system be described by
entirely in terms of syllable weight, edgedness, and nonfinality?
The answer I've finally come up with is a, perhaps paradoxical
sounding, compromise between the two.  To begin with, it's clear
that Phaleran prosody is weight-sensitive, since it distinguishes
between long and short vowels, and since the principle that all
words must be at least one trochaic foot long can be upheld by
either long vowels or closed syllables, codas are also moraic:

   î   [?i:]   stone
   or| [?oR_0]   dust, dirt

But the stress system shows that it is not just sensitive to
moraicity; primary stress is also determined precisely by
which heavy syllable is rightmost in the prosodic word:

  séiweri  ['sej.we.ri]   "to drink an alcoholic substance"
  ainkoswa [a~jN.'goz.wa] "to accept"

Except that such a heavy syllable, not already specified in the
underlying representation, may not be word-final:

  lumax  [']      "freshly poured wine"
  uxei   ['?u.j\ej]       "moon, satellite of a planet"
  uxeina [?u.'j\]  "moons"

But many of the languages with which Phaleran has had contact
do not have such a predictable system, or use a different system,
and when these words are borrowed there is a tendency to preserve
the original stress.  These words, almost without exception, have
consistent stress on one syllable, even if the language from which
they are borrowed do not consistently mark that syllable.  In
Phaleran, these words are most clearly consistent when they are
capable of morphological alternation:

phìxaiori         [']             "to rejoice"
phìxaiotlegwasnen ['] "who, it is said,
                                               are rejoicing greatly"

Such oddly stressed words may also receive wordfinal stress
(the only such words to do so):

  âtlùl      [a:.'dlul_0]       "party, group, company"
  âtlùlnânto [a:.'] "by/with the parties"

To help clarify this situation, two new orthographic conventions
are used for the romanization of Phaleran.  Firstly, any syllable
of a regularly stressed word that is not the penultimate syllable
receives an acute stress mark <´>. Secondly, any underlyingly
specified stress receives a grave stress mark, always: <`>.  In
diphthongs, it is always the first character that receives the
stress mark : _fâmàu_ "movement".  Ideally, long vowels should
also be marked in this way, but since fonts that have a special
macron-acute or macron-grave characters are not terribly common,
they may be marked off to the right of the stressed long vowel.
(If one is lazy, an apostrophe for acutes and a comma for graves
can be used.)

Thomas Wier
Dept. of Linguistics  "Nihil magis praestandum est quam ne pecorum ritu
University of Chicago sequamur antecedentium gregem, pergentes non qua
1010 E. 59th Street   eundum est, sed qua itur." -- Seneca
Chicago, IL 60637


Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>