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Title:Quantity Sensitivity as the Result of Constraint Interaction
Authors:Birgit Alber
Abstract:Quantity Sensitivity as the Result of Constraint Interaction

Birgit Alber

University of Marburg

Traditionally, quantity sensitivity is assumed to be a binary parameter

characterizing the stress pattern of the world's languages: in some

languages syllable weight systematically influences the distribution of

stress, others don't show any weight effects. In this paper I claim

that the concept of quantity sensitivity is neither adequate nor

necessary. It is not adequate, because partially quantity sensitive

languages exist, which show weight effects in some contexts, but not

in others. It is not necessary, because weight effects can be

interpreted as the result of constraint interaction. Thus, the high

ranking of certain constraints such as the weight-to-stress principle

(WSP) will favor weight-effects while lower-rank of the WSP with

respect to alignment constraints, constraints requiring exhaustive

parsing or constraints militating against stress clash, will obscure

weight-effects. A partially quantity-sensitive language is

characterized by a medial position of constraints favoring weight-

effects (most typically the WSP) in the hierarchy.

Secondary stress in German loan-words and Finnish stress are analysed

as examples of partially quantity sensitive systems. Estonian (see

Kager 1994) exemplifies an almost completely quantity insensitive

language: weight effects emerge only in very limited contexts, due to

the low position of the WSP in the constraint hierarchy. The Estonian

ranking with the addition of the constraint Nonfinality gives a

completely quantity-insensitive system. The empirical scope of the

paper is limited to trochaic systems.

This paper was published as:

Alber (1997), "Quantity Sensitivity as the Result of Constraint

Interaction". In: Geert Booij & Jeroen van de Weijer (eds.), Phonology

in Progress - Progress in Phonology. HIL Phonology Papers III, pp. 1-

45. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1