Adjustable word edges and weight-sensitive stress
Elango Kumaran
January 2023

In standard Optimality Theoretic analyses of weight-sensitive stress, no consideration is given to the possibility that languages may reposition the edges of the prosodic word in order to avoid violations of constraints related to syllable weight. I propose here that this type of constraint interaction does occur.

Past work has noted that in some cases, the prosodic word seems to slightly misalign with the morphosyntactic word, due to phononological pressures. If this is true, we might expect – given that word-level stress placement (among other phenomena involving the prosodic word) is often sensitive to syllable weight – that in some cases, prosodic word edges can shift in service of syllable-weight-related constraints. I propose that this underexplored prediction is borne out in Karuk (isolate, California) and Majhi Punjabi (Indo-Aryan). Previous accounts of the stress systems of these languages have resorted to novel footing mechanisms (Karuk: Sandy 2017; Majhi Punjabi: Dhillon 2010). With adjustable prosodic word edges, such special mechanisms can be avoided.

Section 2 analyzes the placement of stress on heavy-adjacent syllables in Karuk. I propose that the optimal prosodic word ends in a heavy syllable, and that the optimal position for stress is the penultimate syllable of the prosodic word. This leads to placement of stress on the syllable preceding the rightmost heavy syllable. Section 3 analyzes a pattern of mixed stress attraction/repulsion by superheavy syllables in Majhi Punjabi. I propose that a constraint penalizes unstressed superheavy syllables within the prosodic word. Violations of this constraint are avoided either by placing stress on a superheavy syllable (stress attraction) or by excluding a superheavy syllable from the prosodic word (stress repulsion). Section 4 discusses some facts that suggest that prosodic constituents are created early, in the morphology-phonology interface module (following e.g. Lee and Selkirk 2022). Section 5 concludes.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007070
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of AMP 2022, to appear
keywords: stress, prosody, prosodic word, optimality theory, karuk, punjabi, phonology
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