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Title:German Word Stress in Optimality Theory
Authors:Caroline Fery
Abstract:German Word Stress in Optimality Theory

Caroline Fery

University of Tuebingen

(to appear in Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics)

An analysis based on a careful empirical study of lexical stress in

German can explain some intricate phenomena which have been given

various accounts in the literature. The proposed analysis of stress is

couched in the framework of Optimality Theory, making use of a small

number of independently motivated constraints.

The following properties of lexical stress in German monomorphemes are


- German is a quantity-sensitive language.

- In monomorphemes, regular main stress is on the penult if the final

syllable is light, and on the final syllable if it is heavy. In

trisyllabic words with a penultimate schwa syllable, main stress is


- Footing is not exhaustive. An optional secondary stress may be on the

first syllable, except if secondary stress would provoke a stress clash.

- Exceptional stress is restricted to final stress on some light

syllables, penultimate stress in some words with a final heavy syllable

and antepenultimate stress in some words with an open penult or a

penult closed by an ambisyllabic consonant. Some trisyllabic and

quadrisyllabic words show a compound-like stress pattern.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1