Notes for Chapter 14 - Understanding Phonology

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25 Apr 2012
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Understanding Phonology - 3rd edition
Chapter 14 Stress and Feet
14.2 The Phonological Nature of Stress
- Duration, pitch variation and vowel quantity are involved in creating the impression of stress
in English
- Liberman and Prince (1977): stress is a structural position called a foot, not a phonological
feature given content by phonetic rules
- The foot is a position above the syllable, below the word
- A foot is typically characterized as one strong syllable and one weak syllable
- How stress is realized depends on how a language chooses to use the structural foot position
14.2.1 Metrical Feet and Feet in Poetry
- In poetry and stress theory, the foot represents a kind of grouping of syllables into
constituents
- Reminder: a syllable is light if it has a short vowel and is not closed, it is heavy if it has a
long syllable, or ends in a consonant
- In metrical stress theory, feet represent the stress pattern of a word and are intended to
provide descriptive units to account for the stress patterns that may exist in languages
- The primary concern of metrical theory are the properties that govern the determination of the
location of the stressed syllables
- Metrical theory is not a single theory but a number of alternative proposals
14.3 Stress as an Absolute Property of Segment: Linear Phonology
- Iterative rule application: repeating action of a rule
- Secondary stresses typically alternate in a binary fashion the ‘counting-by-two’ aspect:
secondary stresses are typically separated by one unstressed syllable
14.4 Stress as Relative Prominence: Nonlinear Phonology
14.4.1 A Parametric Theory of Relative Prominence
- Hayes (1981): proposed:
o Stress is no longer represented by [±stress], but is considered a strength relation
between syllables, where in a binary branching tree structure, one node is dominant
(the S(trong) node) and the other is recessive (the W(eak) node)
o The differences in stress patterns is accounted for by parameters
Right-dominance (WS) vs. left-dominance (SW)
Bounded vs. unbounded
Left to right vs. right to left (where foot construction starts at the left edge
or at the right edge)
Quantity-sensitive vs. quantity-insensitive
- Bounded vs. unbounded
o In bounded languages, the main stress is located at a fixed distance from a word
boundary and secondary stresses are located at fixed intervals from other stresses
Won’t allow secondary stresses to occur too far away from word edges, will
place it on a light syllable if no heavy syllable is available
Have maximally binded feet (2 branches) (re: page 220); only has terminal S-
nodes
o In unbounded languages, stresses cannot be located at a fixed distance
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