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Title:Weight, final lengthening and stress: A phonetic and phonological case study of Norwegian
Authors:Anya Lunden
Comment:Dissertation from UC Santa Cruz 2006. [Published Edwin Mellen Press, 2010 -- http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=7979&pc=9.]
Abstract:Many languages, including Norwegian, exhibit CVC weight asymmetry: CVC is usually heavy but behaves as light word-finally. It is proposed that this asymmetry is motivated by facts of phonetic length and human perception. A theory of weight is advanced in which a syllable shape in a given position is only heavy if it, on average, is sufficiently proportionally longer than an unstressed (necessarily light) CV in the same position. A syllable will need to be extra-long word-finally in order to be categorized as heavy because a final CV is notably longer than a non-final CV due to final lengthening. Analyzing weight as requiring a minimum proportional increase reflects human perception of differences: the same raw increase has less of a perceptual effect when added to a relatively long stimulus. Using the results of a production study it is shown that heavy syllables in Norwegian are at least 60% greater than unstressed CV syllables in the same position, putting the weight criterion at a 60% proportional increase. It is shown that a final CVC falls short of this proportional increase threshold with only an average increase of 27% over a same-position CV.

The stress system of Norwegian is analyzed in detail, taking the categorization of syllable weight to be pre-determined by the weight criterion. Evidence for the stress pattern of the language is drawn from the lexicon and the results of a novel word experiment administered to native Norwegian speakers. The regular stress patterns in the language are shown to include not only the predominant stress pattern of the language but also several minor patterns, predictable exceptions to the basic pattern. This identification of basic and minor patterns in conjunction with the weight criterion based on the proportional increase threshold allows for a more motivated and complete analysis of Norwegian stress than has previously been proposed.

The proportional increase theory of weight provides a phonetically and perceptually motivated explanation for the CVC weight asymmetry thus replacing final consonant extrametricality, the traditional descriptive mechanism. Other forms of extrametricality are proposed to be reinterpretable if the perceptual consequences of final lengthening are considered. While the analysis of weight is consistent with the basic tenets of moraic theory, a departure is made from standard moraic theory which takes moras to be prosodic units associated directly to segments. The theory of weight proposed treats moras as a property of syllables as a whole.
Article:This article has been withdrawn.