|Title:||The Puzzle of Kashmiri Stress: Implications for Weight Theory|
|Abstract:||The Puzzle of Kashmiri Stress: Implications for Weight Theory
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.