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Metrical Stress Theory Julie Nelson, Cailey Moe, and Trang Nguyen.

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Presentation on theme: "Metrical Stress Theory Julie Nelson, Cailey Moe, and Trang Nguyen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Metrical Stress Theory Julie Nelson, Cailey Moe, and Trang Nguyen

2 Metrical phonology is......a group of subtheories of generative phonology which attempt to categorize stress and stress rules....differs from generative phonology in that it does not treat stress as a segmental feature pertaining specifically to vowels....organizes stress into rhythmic hierarchies.

3 These are the faces of metrical phonology!

4 a brief history......metrical stress theory was a response to Chomsky & Halle's (1968) proposal of a linear analysis that stress is segmental....Liberman (1975) created the theory in his doctoral dissertation...other major contributions: Liberman & Prince (1977), Halle and Vergnaud (1978), Hayes (1981,1984, 1995)

5 a brief can be considered a sort of sister theory to auto-segmental theory...its authors sought to provide alternatives to generative theory such as rule variables...another way to represent stress in stress languages at the same time denoting its hierarchical characteristics.

6 briefly,generative theories of stress -Generative stress rules are linear and may be considered too simplistic by some -Stress is treated as a segmental feature [+stress], [-stress], [1stress], [2stress] -Doesn't account for the hierarchical and relational properties of stress

7 A sample stress rule (generative) Penultimate stress (vowel-counting version) V [+stress] / ___ C 0 V C 0 ] word Assign stress to the second-to-last vowel in the word.

8 Building Syllables All syllables have: An onset : "The consonant or sequence of consonants at the beginning of a syllable" A coda: "The consonant or sequence of consonants at the end of a syllable" And a nucleus: "The vowel or diphthong found at the syllable's core and functioning as its sonority peak"

9 Syllable Structure

10 Syllable Construction When building syllables, first assign the nucleus!

11 Syllable Construction Next, attach any consonants to the following syllable:

12 Syllable Construction Finally, if necessary, attach any consonants not yet syllabified with the preceding syllable:

13 In some languages, Onset Formation appears to be word bounded, like in German:

14 Syllable Construction In other languages, like Spanish, Onset Formation can cross word boundries:

15 Syllable Weight Heavy Syllables: End in a consonant (aka 'closed syllable') Have a long vowel or diphthong (aka 'open') Light Syllables: End in a short vowel (open) Syllables that end in a consonant are heavy, ones that end in a vowel are light.

16 Generative Representation of Heavy/Light Syllabification

17 More about syllables... Every syllable must have a nucleus. Depending on the language, onset and coda are not required. Arabic:Every syllable must have an onset Samoan: codas are illegal

18 Metrical Theories of Stress A summary of the typological properties of stress: Culminativity : Every content word has to have at least 1 stressed syllable In every word or phrase there is one syllable which is stronger than the rest Stress is not usually assigned on grammatical words Rhythmic distribution: Syllables bearing stress tend to occur in roughly equal distances Stress Hierarchies: Some stresses are stronger than others within a word or phrase boundary (primary, secondary, tertiary stresses, etc.) Non-assimilation Stress doesn't assimilate like sound features like [round] or [front] do

19 Metrical representations of stress 1. Metrical tree (Liberman 1975, Liberman & Prince 1977, Hayes 1984) Metrical trees usually have a similar format to syntactic trees

20 Metrical Representations of Stress 2. Metrical Grid (Liberman & Prince, 1977) Primary stress Secondary stress syllable => 3. Bracketed Grid (Halle & Vergnaud, 1987)

21 Grids, continued Grids are ways to represent certain stress phenomena:

22 Grids, continued Grids roughly correspond to the categorical levels of stress In this way, they convey similar information to what can be found on trees

23 Parameters of Stress Representation 1. Foot Boundedness 2. Foot Dominance 3. Quantity-sensitivity 4. Directionality vs Iterativity

24 1. Boundedness Motivated by culminativity and exhaustivity. Culminativity : Every content word must have at least one stress. Exhaustivity : Every syllable has to be organized into feet. Bounded feet can have no more than 2 syllables (feet are binary or degenerate at the syllabic level of analysis). Unbounded feet can have any number of syllables. Words with an odd number of syllables begin or end with a degenerate foot.

25 1. Boundedness Ex: What types of foot are these?

26 2. Foot Dominance Left dominance: left nodes of feet are stressed Feet are trochaic (a) Ex: 'problem, ('holi)day, ('alter)('nation) 'what a ('failure) Right dominance: Right nodes of feet are stressed Feet are iambic (b) Ex: re'port, (com'puter) (ex'treme)mity (My 'head) (was 'hot)

27 3. Quantity Sensitivity (Q-sensitivity) Syllable weight influences how stress feet are assigned. Q-sensitive language: heavy syllables get stressed. English is Q-sensitive: Light penult: stress goes to preceding syllable. Ex: 'Canada, 'metrical, 'visible, 'ultimate Heavy penult: gets the stress Ex: A'genda, ho'rizon, de'cided, 'mango Q-determined (Obligatory Branching): means Q-sensitive, but with the extra requirement that the dominant syllable node be heavy.

28 3. Quantity Sensitivity (Q- sensitivity) Q-insensitive language: heavy syllables may occur in stressless position. Another way of understanding: syllables are treated as having equal weight. French is Q-insensitive. Examples anyone?

29 4. Directionality vs Iterativity Directionality: The assignment of feet starts from the left and goes right or vice-versa English likes right-to-left, trochaic foot formation. Ex: restoration => resto('ration) => ('resto)('ration) Iterativity Iterativity (bidirectionality): assign a foot at one edge, then go to the other edge and assign feet iteratively. Ex: Piro language Non-iterativity: other cases (words have one single foot at the edge. Ex: monosyllable or bi-syllable words)

30 Extrametricality [X] does not conform to metrical rules & occurs at peripheral locations. Ex:why is it as'paragus but not ('aspa)('ragus) 'gus' is extrametrical --> poor thing gets a degenerate foot (exhaustivity) Tree construction is right to left and trochaic: * * * * * * * * * (* *) asparagus => aspara => as('para)(gus) More examples: ('visi)('bili)ty, re('peti)tive,

31 The future of metrical phonology Can regularities be accounted for by transformational rules or by output constraints? How does prominence in syllables affect stress in syllables? Research in languages with ternary rhythm.

32 Sources Hammond, M. (1995) Metrical Phonology. Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (pp ) Hayes, B. (1995). Metrical stress theory: Principals and case studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Hayes, B. (2009) Introductory Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing: West Sussex, UK. Hogg, R. & McCully, C.B. (1987) Metrical Phonology: A Coursebook. University of Cambridge Publishing: New York, NY. Kager, R. (1995) The metrical theory of word stress. In The handbook of phonology, Goldsmith, J (ed.) (pp ) Blackwell Publishing: Cambridge, MA McCarthy, J. & Hayes, B. (2003) Metrical phonology. Linguistics department faculty publication series. University of Massachusetts Publishing. Retrieved from: Metrical Phonology. (n.d) Wikipedia. Retrieved from

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