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Title:The Puzzle of Kashmiri Stress: Implications for Weight Theory
Authors:Bruce Moren
Abstract:The Puzzle of Kashmiri Stress: Implications for Weight Theory

Bruce Morén

University of Maryland, College Park

Kashmiri, a Dardic Indo-Aryan language, shows an interesting

relationship between vowel length, consonant weight, and stress

assignment. Stress predictably falls on the left-most non-final heavy

syllable (CVV, CVC). However, if both long vowels and closed syllables

are found in the same word, stress falls on the left-most long vowel

even if there is an available closed syllable even farther to the left.

This is a puzzle given standard assumptions about syllable weight.

Currently there are many proposals for analyzing cross-

linguistic vowel length and consonant weight distributions within

Optimality Theory. The basic claim is that vowel length and consonant

weight are determined by the interaction of markedness constraints on

moraic content and constraints requiring faithfulness to underlying

moraicity. In this paper, I show that the constraints used in one

such proposal (Morén 1996, 1997) provide an analysis of the core

syllable weight of Kashmiri, and that the inclusion of a few other

constraints proposed in the literature provides an analysis of the

previously puzzling distribution of stress in this language.

The theoretical importance of this paper lies in the

demonstration that closed syllables may vary in weight depending on

surface stress assignment. This is in contrast with previous weight

theories which treat consonant weight for a particular segment in a

given syllabic position as static within a given language. Using

Optimality Theory and Correspondence Theory, I show that complex

distributions of moraic segments in Kashmiri are the result of the

interaction of a limited number of general constraints. In addition,

I demonstrate that reranking these constraints cannot lead to a

pathologic (unattested) interaction between stress and weight.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1