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Title:On the nonuniformity of weight-to-stress and stress preservation effects in English
Authors:Joe Pater
Abstract:On the nonuniformity of weight-to-stress and

stress preservation effects in English

Joe Pater

McGill University

Secondary stress placement in English is affected by syllable weight,

by the placement of stress in the stem of a derived word, and by

lexical idiosyncrasy. However, the effects of all of these factors is

'nonuniform', in the sense of Prince (1993): in some contexts they

unequivocally determine stress placement, while in others they have

little, or no effect. To the extent that it has been dealt with, this

nonuniformity has tremendously complicated prior analyses of English

stress. At the root of these complications is the tenet of

inviolability, or full satisfaction. Once full satisfaction is

replaced by Optimality Theoretic minimal violation, both descriptive

and explanatory advances are made possible.

In section 1 the usual, productive patterns of weight-to-secondary

stress are accounted for in terms of a small set of ranked

constraints. Section 2 contains a brief discussion of primary stress

placement, demonstrating that quantity sensitive primary stress

placement is compatible with the relatively low rank of the

Weight-to-Stress constraint that the facts of secondary stress

placement require. Section 3 examines lexical exceptions, and apparent

cases of cyclic stress preservation, and argues for an account based

both on stress preservation, formalized as prosodic faithfulness, and

on lexically specific constraint ranking. By interspersing prosodic

faithfulness constraints, and lexically specific constraints into the

hierarchy established for regular stress, the same principles that

determine regular prosodification can be used to straightforwardly and

precisely capture the distribution of lexical, and stem based stress.

Residual data, and issues, are discussed in appendices.

Comments are welcome, and I would be happy to send a hard copy

of the manuscript if downloading is impossible.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1