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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Why phonology Is different. Linguistic Inquiry 20 1. The sound pattern of English. Haspelmath, Martin. Linguistic Typology 11 1. Framework-free grammatical theory. Oxforf: Oxford University Press. Hyman, Larry M. Universals in phonology. Phonological typology.

Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. Kiparsky, Paul. Formal and empirical issues in phonological typology.

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Phonological typology , vol. Lass, Roger. Vowel system universals and typology: Prologue to theory. Phonology 1. Numerical simulation of vowel quality systems: The role of perceptual contrast.

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Language 48 4. Maddieson, Ian. Patterns of sounds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Is phonological typology possible without universal categories? That is one of the three components of prosody , along with rhythm and intonation. It includes phrasal stress the default emphasis of certain words within phrases or clauses , and contrastive stress used to highlight an item, a word or part of a word, that is given particular focus. There are various ways in which stress manifests itself in the speech stream, and these depend to some extent on which language is being spoken.

Stressed syllables are often louder than non-stressed syllables, and may have a higher or lower pitch. They may also sometimes be pronounced longer.

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There are sometimes differences in place or manner of articulation — in particular, vowels in unstressed syllables may have a more central or " neutral " articulation, while those in stressed syllables have a more peripheral articulation. Stress may be realized to varying degrees on different words in a sentence; sometimes the difference between the acoustic signals of stressed and unstressed syllables are minimal.


These particular distinguishing features of stress, or types of prominence in which particular features are dominant, are sometimes referred to as particular types of accent — dynamic accent in the case of loudness, pitch accent in the case of pitch although that term usually has more specialized meanings , quantitative accent in the case of length, [3] and qualitative accent in the case of differences in articulation. These can be compared to the various types of accent in music theory.

In some contexts, the term stress or stress accent is used to mean specifically dynamic accent or as an antonym to pitch accent in its various meanings. A prominent syllable or word is said to be accented or tonic ; the latter term does not imply that it carries phonemic tone. Other syllables or words are said to be unaccented or atonic. Syllables are frequently said to be in pretonic or post-tonic position; certain phonological rules apply specifically to such positions.

Linguistic Evolution : With Special Reference to English

In Mandarin Chinese , which is a tonal language , stressed syllables have been found to have tones realized with a relatively large swing in fundamental frequency , while unstressed syllables typically have smaller swings. Lexical stress, or word stress , is the stress placed on a given syllable in a word. The position of lexical stress in a word may depend on certain general rules applicable in the language or dialect in question, but in other languages, it must be learned for each word, as it is largely unpredictable.

In some cases, classes of words in a language differ in their stress properties; for example, loanwords into a language with fixed stress may preserve stress placement from the source language, or the special pattern for Turkish placenames. In some languages, the placement of stress can be determined by rules. It is thus not a phonemic property of the word, because it can always be predicted by applying the rules.

Languages in which the position of the stress can usually be predicted by a simple rule are said to have fixed stress. For example, in Czech , Finnish , Icelandic and Hungarian , the stress almost always comes on the first syllable of a word. In Armenian the stress is on the last syllable of a word. In Macedonian , it is on the antepenult third-last syllable. Other languages have stress placed on different syllables but in a predictable way, as in Classical Arabic and Latin , where stress is conditioned by the structure of particular syllables. They are said to have a regular stress rule.

Statements about the position of stress are sometimes affected by the fact that when a word is spoken in isolation, prosodic factors see below come into play, which do not apply when the word is spoken normally within a sentence. French words are sometimes said to be stressed on the final syllable, but that can be attributed to the prosodic stress that is placed on the last syllable unless it is a schwa , when it is the second-last of any string of words in that language. Thus, it is on the last syllable of a word analyzed in isolation. The situation is similar in Standard Chinese.

French some authors add Chinese [6] can be considered to have no real lexical stress. Languages in which the position of stress in a word is not fully predictable are said to have phonemic stress. Stress is usually truly lexical and must be memorized as part of the pronunciation of an individual word. Sometimes, stress is fixed for all forms of a particular word, or it can fall on different syllables in different inflections of the same word.

Research in Language Acquisition

In such languages with phonemic stress, the position of stress can serve to distinguish otherwise identical words. There may also be limitations on certain phonemes in the language in which stress determines whether they allowed to occur in a particular syllable or not. Dialects of the same language may have different stress placement. With very few exceptions, English compound words are stressed on their first component.

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  • Some languages are described as having both primary stress and secondary stress. A syllable with secondary stress is stressed relative to unstressed syllables but not as strongly as a syllable with primary stress. As with primary stress, the position of secondary stress may be more or less predictable depending on language. In some analyses, for example the one found in Chomsky and Halle's The Sound Pattern of English , English has been described as having four levels of stress: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary, but the treatments often disagree with one another.

    Peter Ladefoged and other phoneticians have noted that it is possible to describe English with only one degree of stress, as long as unstressed syllables are phonemically distinguished for vowel reduction. For further detail see Stress and vowel reduction in English. Prosodic stress , or sentence stress , refers to stress patterns that apply at a higher level than the individual word — namely within a prosodic unit.

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    It may involve a certain natural stress pattern characteristic of a given language, but may also involve the placing of emphasis on particular words because of their relative importance contrastive stress. An example of a natural prosodic stress pattern is that described for French above; stress is placed on the final syllable of a string of words or if that is a schwa , the next-to-final syllable. A word spoken alone becomes such a phrase, hence such prosodic stress may appear to be lexical if the pronunciation of words is analyzed in a standalone context rather than within phrases.

    Another type of prosodic stress pattern is quantity sensitivity — in some languages additional stress tends to be placed on syllables that are longer moraically heavy. Prosodic stress is also often used pragmatically to emphasize focus attention on particular words or the ideas associated with them. Doing this can change or clarify the meaning of a sentence; for example:. I didn't take the test yesterday. Somebody else did. I did not take it. I did something else with it.

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    • I took one of several. I took something else. I took it some other day. As in the examples above, stress is normally transcribed as italics in printed text or underlining in handwriting. In English, stress is most dramatically realized on focused or accented words. For instance, consider the dialogue.