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8. Stress and Rhythm


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Phonology

Key-Topics prosody

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00010.x


Stress may be defined as the greater prominence that a given syllable receives over the rest of the syllables in a domain. This domain is the prosodic word in the case of word-level stress. The prosodic word may include a morphological word plus unstressed clitics. In an example like los profesores de matemáticas ‘the mathematics professors,’ for instance, there are two prosodic words, in each of which one syllable receives prominence: [ los profes o res ] [ de matem á ticas ]. A defining property of stress is thus its culminative function ( Trubetzkoy 1973 : 181). It has been claimed that equally or more important is the obligatory character of stress: in languages with word-level stress (stress languages), every prosodic word must have stress on one syllable ( Hyman 2006 ). In Sections 5 and 6, we will consider some apparent exceptions to the culminativity (only one syllable with primary stress in the domain) and obligatoriness (at least one syllable with primary stress in the domain) of stress in Spanish. The most prominent stress in an utterance is known as the nuclear stress. In Spanish, like in other Romance languages, nuclear stress generally falls on the last word of the utterance: quiero coMER ‘I want to eat,’ quiero comer PAN ‘I want to eat bread,’ quiero comer pan con QUEso ‘I want to eat bread with cheese’ (we set the syllable with nuclear stress in capital letters). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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