Exploring recursivity, stringency, and gradience in the Pama-Nyungan stress continuum

John Alderete

Abstract : This chapter reviews contemporary approaches to the morphological influences on stress in certain Pama-Nyungan languages, including Diyari, Dyirbal, and Warlpiri. To account for the variation found in these languages, nine different theories are developed that differ in the constraints responsible for edge effects in stress and the alignment of morphological and prosodic structure. The factorial typologies of each theory are analyzed and shown to support three conclusions concerning the analysis of morphological stress in particular and the nature of constraints in general. First, stringency or ‘special-general’ relations between two morpho-prosodic alignment constraints are necessary because theories without these stringency relations either do not describe all of the data or predict the existence of rather implausible stress patterns. Second, while some constraints that require gradient constraint evaluation can (and indeed must) be dispensed with, it appears that gradiently assessed constraints like AllFeetLeft are still necessary. Third, there is both theoretical and empirical support for the recursive prosodic word analysis of (McCarthy and Prince, 1994). This analysis is also shown to make predictions about logically possible systems that may be explored in future work

Keywords : stress, Optimality Theory, alignment, stringency, morpho-prosodic alignment, factorial typology, categorical vs. gradient constraint evaluation, Pama-Nyungan

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Full citation : 2009. Alderete, John. Exploring recursivity, stringency, and gradience in the Pama-Nyungan stress continuum. In Parker, Steve (ed.), pp. 181-202, Phonological argumentation. Essays on evidence and motivation. London: Equinox Publishing.