|Absence of stress culmination and prosodic phrasing
|Selkirk's (1980, 1984, 1995) influential prosodic hierarchy hypothesis assumes culminant prosodic phrases, i.e. phrases with a single head representing the prosodic peak (or 'culmination') of a phrase. Rather than deriving this important property, most Optimality Theory analyses stipulate it via GEN, which is tacitly only allowed to produce prosodically culminant structures. This stipulation is unnecessary because as McCarthy and Prince (1993) observed in their discussion of generalized alignment single-headedness follows from head-alignment constraints whenever no higher constraints force their violation. In particular, if prosodic heads are generated freely within a phrase, then the more heads there are the more violations of head alignment occur, thus favoring culminant phrases against multi-headed ones.
In the following I will claim that the prosody of Nkhotakota Chichewa is consistent with the presence of non-culminant prosodic phrases at the intonational phrase level. I will also show, however, that the amendments to the current model of prosodic phrasing are surprisingly limited, involving only the fine-tuning of existing constraints rather than outright new ones.
Note: this is a chapter of ROA-844, Wondering at the Natural Fecundity of Things: Essays in Honor of Alan Prince.