Linguistics Word Stress
by
Brett Hyde
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 November 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0123

Introduction

In most, if not all, languages, each word has a syllable that is more prominent in some way than the others. The most prominent syllable is the accented syllable. The accent is typically a stress or tone or some combination of the two. In addition to the accent, each word may have additional prominent syllables that are distributed rhythmically throughout the word. Metrical stress theory is the subfield of phonology that focuses on word stress, both accent and rhythmically distributed prominence.

Textbooks

There are no textbooks on word stress that are current with early-21st-century theory. Hogg and McCully 1987 concentrates on the theories of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Because metrical stress theory is one of the major subfields of phonology, however, most late-20th- and early-21st-century phonology textbooks offer one or more substantial chapters on the subject. Bracketed grid approaches are the focus in Ewen and van der Hulst 2001, Kenstowicz 1994, and Roca and Johnson 1999. Of these, Kenstowicz 1994 discusses the widest range of bracketed grid approaches. Spencer 1996 covers both arboreal and bracketed grid approaches. Kager 1999 looks at optimality theoretic approaches.

  • Ewen, Colin J., and Harry van der Hulst. 2001. The phonological structure of words: An introduction. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Has a chapter, “Feet and Words” (pp. 196–245), that examines the typology of stress systems and that presents basic analyses in a bracketed grid approach.

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    • Hogg, Richard, and C. B. McCully. 1987. Metrical phonology: A coursebook. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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      A textbook concentrating on the classical arboreal and autonomous grid theories.

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      • Kager, René. 1999. Optimality Theory. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511812408Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A chapter on metrical structure (pp. 142–193) offers an introduction to word stress and a basic optimality theoretic analysis.

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        • Kenstowicz, Michael. 1994. Phonology in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

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          Contains a substantial chapter on stress (pp. 548–621). The chapter focuses on bracketed grid approaches, including basic, templatic, and open bracket approaches.

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          • Roca, Iggy, and Wyn Johnson. 1999. A course in phonology. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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            Provides three chapters on stress: “The Phenomenon of Stress” (pp. 294–320), “Metrical Principles and Parameters” (pp. 321–348), and “Syllable Weight” (pp. 349–381). The emphasis is on a templatic approach.

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            • Spencer, Andrew. 1996. Phonology: Theory and description. Introducing Linguistics. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

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              Has two chapters on stress: “Stress and Rhythm” (pp. 240–264) and “Stress and Rhythm in English” (pp. 265–302). Covers both arboreal and bracketed grid approaches.

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              Reference Resources

              There are many good reference resources dealing with the field of linguistics, and these typically have entries addressing word stress, accent, or rhythm. Brown 2006 is a general linguistics encyclopedia, and Haspelmath, et al. 2005 is a general atlas. There are no glossaries focusing on the study of word stress, but Carr 2008 and Mathews 2007 cover the relevant terms.

              Handbooks

              Phonology handbooks typically contain at least one, and usually several, chapters on word stress and related topics. These texts are often one of the best resources for introductory discussions about research in the field. The most extensive is the five-volume Blackwell Companion to Phonology (van Oostendorp, et al. 2011) The single-volume Cambridge Handbook of Phonology (de Lacy 2007) and Handbook of phonological theory, both the first edition (Goldsmith 1995) and the second (Goldsmith, et al. 2011), are also excellent resources for examinations of word stress.

              • de Lacy, Paul, ed. 2007. The Cambridge handbook of phonology. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486371Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                René Kager’s chapter, “Feet and Metrical Stress,” presents a good overview of word stress, stress-related phenomena, and key empirical generalizations. De Lacy’s chapter, “The Interaction of Tone, Sonority, and Prosodic Structure,” is a good overview of tone- and sonority-sensitive stress systems.

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                • Goldsmith, John A., ed. 1995. The handbook of phonological theory. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

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                  René Kager’s chapter, “The Metrical Theory of Word Stress,” gives a very good introduction to the development of metrical stress theory. Morris Halle and William Idsardi’s chapter, “General Properties of Stress and Metrical Structure,” looks at an open bracketed grid theory.

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                  • Goldsmith, John, Jason Riggle, and Alan C. L. Yu, eds. 2011. The handbook of phonological theory. 2d ed. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

                    DOI: 10.1002/9781444343069Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Matthew Gordon’s chapter, “Stress Systems,” explores stress system typology and some of the more recent analyses. Stuart Davis’s chapter, “Quantity,” discusses the effects of syllable weight on stress.

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                    • van Oostendorp, Marc, Colin J. Ewen, Elizabeth Hume, and Keren Rice, eds. 2011. The Blackwell companion to phonology. 5 vols. Blackwell Companions to Linguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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                      Volume 2 has several relevant chapters, including “Stress: Phonotactic and Phonetic Evidence” (Matthew Gordon), “The Foot” (Michael Hammond), “The Representation of Word Stress” (Ben Hermans), “Pitch Accent Systems” (van der Hulst), “Extrametricality and Non-Finality” and “The Iambic-Trochaic Law” (Brett Hyde), “The Phonological Word” (Anthi Revithiadou), and “Ternary Rhythm” (Curt Rice).

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                      Description and Typology

                      Grammars and grammatical fragments that concentrate on the phonology of individual languages (such as those found in the International Journal of American Linguistics, cited under Journals, and similar journals) very often have sections on word stress. These sources are the most heavily relied on for data and typological generalizations, but they are far too numerous to list here. There are a substantial number of resources focusing on word stress in individual languages or languages families, however, including Krauss 1985 for Yupik, and Michelson 1988 for Lake-Iroquoian. More extensive resources for data and description are Stress Patterns of the World (Goedemans, et al. 1996) and A Survey of Word Accentual Patterns in the Languages of the World (van der Hulst, et al. 2010). Both volumes are based on the Stress-Typ database (cited under Electronic Archives and Databases). Van der Hulst 1999 is a survey similar to van der Hulst, et al. 2010, but it looks more narrowly at the languages of Europe. A significant amount of work has been done on the typology of accent systems, much of it accompanying theoretical proposals (see the sections Theories with Parallel Derivation and Theories with Serial Derivation). Discussion of how to classify accent systems can be found in Hyman 2006.

                      • Goedemans, Rob, Harry van der Hulst, and Ellis Visch, eds. 1996. Stress patterns of the world: Part 1, Background. HIL. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

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                        Primarily addresses issues concerning classification and typology of the world’s stress patterns. Contains numerous examples.

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                        • Hyman, Larry M. 2006. Word-prosodic typology. Phonology 23.2: 225–257.

                          DOI: 10.1017/S0952675706000893Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Defines tone accent and stress accent and argues that “pitch accent” languages may incorporate a range of characteristics associated with both types. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                          • Krauss, Michael, ed. 1985. Yupik Eskimo prosodic systems: Descriptive and comparative studies. Alaska Native Language Center Research Papers. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, Univ. of Alaska.

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                            Focuses on stress patterns and related phenomena in the various Yupik languages.

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                            • Michelson, Karin. 1988. A comparative study of Lake-Iroquoian accent. Studies in natural language and linguistic theory. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Boston: Kluwer.

                              DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-2709-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Describes and compares the accent patterns of Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca.

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                              • van der Hulst, Harry, ed. 1999. Word prosodic systems in the languages of Europe. Empirical Approaches to Language Typology. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                Gives descriptions, often supported by phonetic analysis, of the stress and accent patterns of European languages.

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                                • van der Hulst, Harry, Rob Goedemans, and Ellen van Zanten, eds. 2010. A survey of word accentual patterns in the languages of the world. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter Mouton.

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                                  Features chapters by leading experts on word accent, describing the stress patterns that appear in different geographical locations. The descriptions are typically accompanied by a number of examples. An excellent resource.

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                                  Journals

                                  Although there are no journals devoted to word stress or metrical stress theory, relevant articles frequently appear in Phonology and Laboratory Phonology. Key articles have also appeared in linguistics journals with more general coverage. Linguistic Inquiry and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory are journals focused on linguistic theory, and Language and Lingua are general linguistics journals. The International Journal of American Linguistics is an excellent source for grammatical fragments containing descriptions of stress patterns.

                                  Electronic Archives and Databases

                                  Electronic archives, such as the Rutgers Optimality Archive and Lingbuzz, contain numerous papers on word stress and metrical stress theory. These archives are particularly useful for keeping up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. Stress-Typ is a searchable database of stress and accent patterns. It is one of the most useful resources for research on word stress.

                                  Foundational Works

                                  Whereas stress and accent have long been objects of phonological analysis, the framework of analysis in the early 21st century, metrical stress theory, was established in the late 1970s, with the publication of The Intonational System of English (Liberman 1979) (originally published in 1975, as the author’s doctoral thesis) and “On Stress and Linguistic Rhythm” (Liberman and Prince 1977). Hayes 1985, McCarthy 1979, and Selkirk 1980 each helped shape subsequent approaches to the theory.

                                  • Hayes, Bruce. 1985. A metrical theory of stress rules. PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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                                    Attempts to characterize the range of possible rules within metrical stress theory, based on analysis of multiple languages. The analysis employs three types of feet: quantity insensitive, quantity sensitive, and obligatory branching. A revised version was published in 1985 (New York: Garland).

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                                    • Liberman, Mark. 1979. The intonational system of English. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Garland.

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                                      Originally published in 1975, as the author’s doctoral thesis. Introduces classical arboreal structure and the metrical grid in the context of English intonation.

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                                      • Liberman, Mark, and Alan Prince. 1977. On stress and linguistic rhythm. Linguistic Inquiry 8.2: 249–336.

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                                        Builds on the ideas presented in Liberman 1979. A more extensive introduction and presentation of the classical arboreal approach.

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                                        • McCarthy, John J. 1979. On stress and syllabification. Linguistic Inquiry 10.3: 443–465.

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                                          Develops an account of the effects of syllable weight on stress within the arboreal approach.

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                                          • Selkirk, Elisabeth O. 1980. The role of prosodic categories in English word stress. Linguistic Inquiry 11.3: 563–605.

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                                            Argues for specific categories—syllable, foot, and prosodic word—in a prosodic hierarchy as an alternative to classical arboreal structure. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                            Theories with Serial Derivation

                                            Theories based on serial derivation have focused to a significant degree on representations for stress patterns. These theories can be usefully divided into three general types. Arboreal Approaches involve the branching of tree structures into strong and weak constituents as well as a metrical grid. Most of the works cited in the section Foundational Works adopt an arboreal approach. Autonomous Grid Approaches abandon arboreal structure and employ only the metrical grid. In Bracketed Grid Approaches, layers on the metrical grid are divided into domains, and each individual entry on the grid is associated with one of these domains. Templatic and open bracket approaches are specific versions of the bracketed grid.

                                            Arboreal Approaches

                                            The original arboreal approach developed in Liberman 1979 and Liberman and Prince 1977 (both cited under Foundational Works) was subsequently applied in detailed analyses of several languages. These include Giegerich 1985 for English and German, Harris 1983 for Spanish, and Hayes 1982 and Hayes 1984 for English. Hammond 1988 (originally published in 1984, as the author’s doctoral thesis) is an important precursor to the bracketed grid approach.

                                            • Giegerich, Heinz J. 1985. Metrical phonology and phonological structure: German and English. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                              Applies a version of the arboreal approach in an in-depth analysis of German. Also includes some discussion of English.

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                                              • Hammond, Michael. 1988. Constraining metrical theory: A modular theory of rhythm and destressing. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Garland.

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                                                Originally published in 1984, as the author’s doctoral thesis. A theory that merges arboreal and grid representations. An important precursor of the bracketed grid approach.

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                                                • Harris, James W. 1983. Syllable structure and stress in Spanish: A Nonlinear analysis. Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 8. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

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                                                  A monograph providing an in-depth analysis of Spanish stress and syllable structure. The analysis of stress employs an arboreal approach.

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                                                  • Hayes, Bruce. 1982. Extrametricality and English stress. Linguistic Inquiry 13.2: 227–276.

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                                                    Demonstrates several advantages to the use of extrametricality rules in the analysis of English stress. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                    • Hayes, Bruce. 1984. The phonology of rhythm in English. Linguistic Inquiry 15.1: 33–74.

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                                                      Based on evidence from rhythmic adjustment in English, argues for distinct grid and tree structures and for a set of eurhythmy rules. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                      Autonomous Grid Approaches

                                                      Autonomous grid approaches attempt to represent stress patterns and formulate rules for constructing them using only the metrical grid. Prince 1983 and Selkirk 1984 are the primary serial theories taking this approach. Rubach and Booij 1985 applies the approach in a detailed analysis of Polish stress.

                                                      • Prince, Alan S. 1983. Relating to the grid. Linguistic Inquiry 14.1: 19–100.

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                                                        An autonomous grid theory. One of the first departures from the classical arboreal approach. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                        • Rubach, Jerzy, and Geert Booij. 1985. A grid theory of stress in Polish. Lingua 66.4: 281–320.

                                                          DOI: 10.1016/0024-3841(85)90032-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          An autonomous grid account of secondary stress in Polish. Also address the effects of clitics and compounding. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                          • Selkirk, Elisabeth O. 1984. Phonology and syntax: The relation between sound and structure. Current Studies in Linguistics. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

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                                                            An autonomous grid approach. Deals with stress, in both the word and phrase.

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                                                            Bracketed Grid Approaches

                                                            Bracketed grid approaches replace arboreal structure with an enriched structure for the metrical grid. The first bracketed grid approach is Halle and Vergnaud 1987. Important variants are the templatic approaches of Hayes 1995 (cited under Weight-Sensitive Stress) and Kager 1993, the open bracket approach of Idsardi 1992, and the “accent first” approach of van der Hulst 1997. Significant, detailed applications of the bracketed grid approach to particular languages include Burzio 2005 for English, Kager 1989 for English and Dutch, and Steriade 1988 for ancient Greek.

                                                            • Burzio, Luigi. 2005. Principles of English stress. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                              A bracketed grid approach to English stress. Employs numerous nonstandard assumptions, such as ternary feet, in the analysis.

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                                                              • Halle, Morris, and Jean-Roger Vergnaud. 1987. An essay on stress. Current Studies in Linguistics. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

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                                                                An early bracketed grid approach that had significant influence on subsequent approaches.

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                                                                • Idsardi, William James. 1992. The computation of prosody. PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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                                                                  An open bracket approach. In this type of approach, left and right edge symbols are inserted independently into phonological strings to create prosodic domains. Edge symbols have an enhanced status, compared with most other bracketing approaches, in that they are not merely notations indicating the boundaries of predefined prosodic categories.

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                                                                  • Kager, René. 1989. A metrical theory of stress and destressing in English and Dutch. Linguistic Models 14. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Providence, RI: Foris.

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                                                                    A detailed treatment of both English and Dutch, using a bracketed grid approach

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                                                                    • Kager, René. 1993. Alternatives to the iambic-trochaic law. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 11.3: 381–432.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF00993165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      A templatic approach based on symmetrical foot templates for trochees and iambs. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                      • Steriade, Donca. 1988. Greek accent: A case for preserving structure. Linguistic Inquiry 19.2: 271–314.

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                                                                        Applies a bracketed grid approach to the accent window in ancient Greek. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                        • van der Hulst, Harry. 1997. Primary accent is non-metrical. Rivista di linguistica 9.1: 99–127.

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                                                                          Argues that the position of the accent in a word is determined prior to and independently of the distribution of secondary stresses. Although a bracketed grid theory seems to be assumed for placement of secondary stresses, rules that determine the position of primary accent do not refer to foot structure.

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                                                                          Theories with Parallel Derivation

                                                                          Theories based on parallel derivation, such as those developed within optimality theory, have focused primarily on the production of directional parsing effects. Most approaches rely to a significant degree on alignment constraints. Others rely to a greater degree on rhythmic well-formedness constraints, such as clash and lapse avoidance. Many approaches employ both types, but they are listed in the following sections according to their emphasis.

                                                                          Alignment Approaches

                                                                          Alignment constraints first appeared in McCarthy and Prince 1994, which presented a basic analysis of trochaic stress patterns within the framework of optimality theory. Pruitt 2010 examines the predictions of the same set of constraints within the framework of harmonic serialism. Alber 2005 looks at the predictions of an asymmetrical set of alignment constraints, and Gordon 2002 and Hyde 2002 study the effects of alignment under alternative structural assumptions. Hyde 2012 offers a revised formulation for alignment constraints.

                                                                          • Alber, Birgit. 2005. Clash, lapse, and directionality. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 23.3: 485–542.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s11049-004-0482-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            A weak layering approach in which directional parsing is based on an asymmetrical set of alignment constraints and a set of rhythmic well-formedness constraints. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                            • Gordon, Matthew. 2002. A factorial typology of quantity-insensitive stress. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 20.3: 491–552.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1015810531699Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              An autonomous grid approach employing alignment constraints and rhythmic well-formedness constraints. Also a good typological resource. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                              • Hyde, Brett. 2002. A restrictive theory of metrical stress. Phonology 19.3: 313–359.

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                                                                                An alignment-based approach that uses nonstandard structural assumptions, such as allowing feet to overlap, remain stressless, or share a stress. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                • Hyde, Brett. 2012. Alignment constraints. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 30.3: 798–836.

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                                                                                  Offers an alternative to the generalized alignment approach to alignment constraints (see McCarthy and Prince 1994) and addresses some longstanding problems arising under the original formulation. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                  • McCarthy, John, and Alan Prince. 1994. Generalized alignment. In Yearbook of morphology. Edited by Geert Booij and Jaap van Marle, 79–153. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Boston: Kluwer.

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                                                                                    Presents the original formulation for alignment constraints and applies them to a variety of phenomena, including directional parsing, for trochaic stress patterns.

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                                                                                    • Pruitt, Kathryn. 2010. Serialism and locality in constraint-based metrical parsing. Phonology 27.3: 481–526.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0952675710000229Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      An alignment-based account formulated within the framework of harmonic serialism, in which derivations are arrived at through serial application of parallel evaluations. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                      Rhythmic Licensing Approaches

                                                                                      The rhythmic licensing approaches in Kager 2005 and Buckley 2009 present an alternative to alignment-based analyses. These approaches rely primarily on rhythmic well-formedness constraints.

                                                                                      • Buckley, Eugene. 2009. Locality in metrical typology. Phonology 26.3: 389–435.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0952675709990224Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Similar to the rhythmic licensing approach of Kager 2005, but insists on employing only local constraints. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                        • Kager, René. 2005. Rhythmic licensing theory: An extended typology. In Proceedings of the Third Seoul International Conference on Phonology. Edited by Phonology-Morphology Circle of Korea, 5–31. Seoul, South Korea: Phonology-Morphology Circle of Korea.

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                                                                                          Relies primarily on rhythmic well-formedness constraints to create directional parsing effects.

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                                                                                          Weight-Sensitive Stress

                                                                                          In many languages, syllable weight influences the positions of stress and accent. Heavy syllables may attract stress, or light syllables may repel stress. Theories using foot templates, such as in Hayes 1995 and Kager 1993, have an account of the influence of syllable weight as one of their primary concerns. Mester 1994 is an important application of the templatic approach to Latin.

                                                                                          • Hayes, Bruce. 1995. Metrical stress theory: Principles and case studies. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                            A theory based on asymmetrical foot templates for trochees and iambs, motivated by the iambic-trochaic law. The primary purpose of using templates that are asymmetrical is to account for differences in iambic and trochaic systems in their treatment of heavy syllables. Also an important typological resource.

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                                                                                            • Kager, René. 1993. Alternatives to the iambic-trochaic law. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 11.3: 381–432.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/BF00993165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              A theory based on symmetrical foot templates, presented as an alternative to theories, such as Hayes 1995, with asymmetrical foot templates. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                              • Mester, R. Armin. 1994. The quantitative trochee in Latin. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 12.1: 1–61.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/BF00992745Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Based on minimality and shortening phenomena in Latin, considers the proper form for quantity-sensitive trochees. Argues that moraic trochees provide a better explanation for the Latin facts than uneven trochees. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                Rhyme-Based Weight

                                                                                                In most languages in which stress is sensitive to syllable weight, weight distinctions are based on the content of the rhyme. Hammond 1986 presents a serial account of the avoidance of stress on light syllables, and Hyde 2007 provides an optimality theoretic account. Alber 1997 and Rosenthall and van der Hulst 1999 are optimality theoretic accounts of the attraction of stress to heavy syllables. Gordon 2006 addresses weight-sensitive stress in the context of a more general phonetic account of syllable weight.

                                                                                                • Alber, Birgit. 1997. Quantity-sensitivity as the result of constraint interaction. In Phonology in progress: Progress in phonology. Edited by Geert Booij and Jeroen van de Weijer, 1–45. HIL. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

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                                                                                                  An optimality theoretic approach to quantity sensitivity, focusing on languages that are only partially quantity sensitive.

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                                                                                                  • Gordon, Matthew. 2006. Syllable weight: Phonetics, phonology, typology. Studies in Linguistics. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                    Using a survey of four hundred languages, asserts that languages select criteria for weight distinctions based on the strength of phonetic distinctions. Discusses the effects of syllable weight not only on stress systems but on several other phonological processes as well.

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                                                                                                    • Hammond, Michael. 1986. The obligatory-branching parameter in metrical theory. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 4.2: 185–228.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF00133844Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      A detailed discussion of the type of weight sensitivity in which stress avoids light syllables. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                      • Hyde, Brett. 2007. Non-finality and weight-sensitivity. Phonology 24.2: 287–334.

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                                                                                                        An optimality theoretic account of the avoidance of stress on light syllables. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                        • Rosenthall, Sam, and Harry van der Hulst. 1999. Weight-by-position by position. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17.3: 499–540.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1006283229291Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          An optimality theoretic account of the variable weight of closed syllables. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                          Onset-Based Weight

                                                                                                          Although syllable onsets typically do not play a role in creating weight distinctions, it appears there are a small number of languages in which they do. These have been addressed in a serial approach in Davis 1988, and, more recently, in an optimality theoretic approach in Topintzi 2010. Gordon 2005 proposes a perception-based account.

                                                                                                          Ternary Stress

                                                                                                          The vast majority of languages with rhythmic stress alternate stress on every other syllable, but there are a few languages that alternate stress on every third syllable. Such languages have typically been accounted for with ternary feet, as in Halle and Vergnaud 1987 (cited under Bracketed Grid Approaches), or with binary feet separated by a syllable (weak local parsing), as in Hayes 1995 (cited under Weight-Sensitive Stress). Elenbaas and Kager 1999 presents an optimality theoretic analysis based on weak local parsing, and Rice 1992 proposes an analysis based on a type of binary foot that does not require weak local parsing.

                                                                                                          • Elenbaas, Nine, and René Kager. 1999. Ternary rhythm and the lapse constraint. Phonology 16.3: 273–329.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0952675799003772Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            An optimality theoretic approach to ternary stress. Employs a type of lapse avoidance that results in weak local parsing. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                            • Rice, Curtis Calvin. 1992. Binarity and ternarity in metrical theory: Parametric extensions. PhD diss., Univ. of Texas at Austin.

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                                                                                                              Proposes an analysis of ternary stress based on binary feet that does not involve weak local parsing.

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                                                                                                              Unbounded Stress

                                                                                                              Many languages have been described as having only a primary stress and no rhythmically distributed secondary stresses. Baković 2003 presents an alignment-based approach, Walker 1997 provides a licensing approach, and Kenstowicz 1997 offers a prominence-based approach

                                                                                                              Stress and Morphology

                                                                                                              Morphology can influence the position of stress and accent in two ways. First, in some languages, particular morphemes are inherently stressed or stressless, and their inclusion in a word helps shape the overall stress pattern. Second, the position of stress or accent can be constrained by the presence of morpheme boundaries.

                                                                                                              Serial Approaches

                                                                                                              Serial approaches focus on the step-by-step construction of morphological forms and the application of stress rules at various points in a derivation to create desired stress patterns. Kiparsky 1979 and Halle and Kenstowicz 1991 outline a general approach, and Roca 1986 provides a detailed analysis of Spanish. Cohn 1989 focuses on conflicts between different requirements for boundary structures. Poser 1989 addresses the effect of boundaries on the distribution of prosodic structure.

                                                                                                              • Cohn, Abigail C. 1989. Stress in Indonesian and bracketing paradoxes. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 7.2: 167–216.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/BF00138076Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Bracketing paradoxes are a mismatch between boundary structures required by morphological/semantic considerations and boundary structures required by phonological considerations. Based on evidence from Indonesian, this paper argues that the morphological considerations are primal and that boundaries are reorganized in light of phonological considerations. See McCarthy and Cohn 1998 (cited under Parallel Approaches) for a parallel approach to the same issue. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                • Halle, Morris, and Michael Kenstowicz. 1991. The free element condition and cyclic versus noncyclic stress. Linguistic Inquiry 22.3: 457–501.

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                                                                                                                  Develops an approach to cyclic stress assignment within a bracketed grid approach. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                  • Kiparsky, Paul. 1979. Metrical structure assignment is cyclic. Linguistic Inquiry 10.3: 421–441.

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                                                                                                                    Contends that in word formation processes, stress assignment rules are applied cyclically. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                    • Poser, William J. 1989. The metrical foot in Diyari. Phonology 6.1: 117–148.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0952675700000968Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Argues for the existence of metrical feet, based on evidence from Diyari. The evidence primarily comes from the difference in “stressability” of disyllabic and monosyllabic affixes and from the characteristics of reduplication. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                      • Roca, Iggy. 1986. Secondary stress and metrical rhythm. Phonology Yearbook 3:341–370.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0952675700000683Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Maintains that primary stress in Spanish is subject to cyclic rule application but that secondary stress is not. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                        Parallel Approaches

                                                                                                                        Parallel approaches to the influence of morphology on word accent generally address one of two issues. Alderete 2001, Pater 2000, and Revithiadou 1998 focus on the mechanisms that maintain or restrict the position of inherent accent. McCarthy and Cohn 1998 and Kenstowicz 1995 look at the influence of morphological and prosodic boundaries.

                                                                                                                        Poetic Meter

                                                                                                                        Metrical stress theory has made significant contributions to the study of meter in poetry. Kiparsky and Youmans 1989 and Dresher and Friedberg 2006 are edited collections that contain a number of key articles. Books that focus on poetic meter include Halle and Keyser 1971, one of the foundational works on generative metrics, and Fabb and Halle 2008, which presents an open bracketed grid approach. Hayes and MacEachern 1998 gives an optimality theoretic analysis.

                                                                                                                        • Dresher, B. Elan, and Nila Friedberg, eds. 2006. Formal approaches to poetry: Recent developments in metrics. Phonology and Phonetics. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                          A collection of articles providing both serial and parallel derivational approaches and touching on a wide range of languages.

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                                                                                                                          • Fabb, Nigel, and Morris Halle. 2008. Meter in poetry: A new theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511755040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            A serial, open bracket approach to poetic meter. The book analyzes poetic meter in a wide range of languages, including ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hebrew, Latvian, and Sanskrit.

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                                                                                                                            • Halle, Morris, and Samuel Jay Keyser. 1971. English stress: Its form, its growth and its role in verse. Studies in Language. New York: Harper and Row.

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                                                                                                                              One of the foundational works on generative metrics. The text offers a set of constraints for mapping phonological representations to a poetic meter.

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                                                                                                                              • Hayes, Bruce, and Margaret MacEachern. 1998. Quatrain form in English folk verse. Language 74.3: 473–507.

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                                                                                                                                Gives an optimality theoretic, grid-based account of quatrain form in English folk verse.

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                                                                                                                                • Kiparsky, Paul, and Gilbert Youmans, eds. 1989. Rhythm and meter. Papers presented at an international conference on metrical theory, held at Stanford Univ. in 1984. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                  A collection of articles representing analysis from the standpoint of both generative metrics and literary criticism. Analyses from the former standpoint include Ray Jackendoff’s “A Comparison of Rhythmic Structures in Music and Language,” Alan Prince’s “Metrical Forms,” Bruce Hayes’s “The Prosodic Hierarchy in Meter,” and Kiparsky’s “Sprung Rhythm.”

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                                                                                                                                  Computation

                                                                                                                                  Stress and accent phenomena have often been employed as a domain for testing models of language acquisition. A few examples are given below. Dresher and Kaye 1990 concentrates on a model with serial derivation, and Tesar 2004 focuses on a model with parallel derivation. Heinz 2009 examines the issue from the standpoint of automata theory.

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