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QP Talk: Segmental Stress in Abkhaz

Samuel Andersson
Event time: 
Monday, February 24, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Lingsem (Room 201, Dow Hall) See map
370 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Abstract: There are various proposals for how to represent contrastive stress in the lexicon, and many rely on underlying forms that are already grouped into prosodic units like feet and syllables. I will argue that such theories cannot account for the stress system in the Northwest Caucasian language Abkhaz. Similar to some Indo-European languages (Greek, Russian, … ), Abkhaz has multiple accent specifications per word, which then together determine the placement of surface stress in a predictable way.

Using data from an Abkhaz dictionary, I analyze 600+ stress alternations, and phonotactic restrictions across 6,000+ native and borrowed words, the largest dataset on Abkhaz stress to date. I show that the number and type of stress alternations are straightforwardly explained by a distinctive feature [stress] attached to individual segments. Other proposals, where stress is a property of morphemes (Dybo 1977), syllables (Trigo 1992), or moras (Vaux and Samuels 2018), all make incorrect predictions. This shows that in at least some languages, stress is a segmental property in the lexicon.

Event Type: