Morphological effects on default stress placement in novel Russian words

Katherine Crosswhite, John Alderete, Tim Beasley, Vita Markman

Abstract: This article presents the results of a nonce-probe experiment conducted with 13 native speakers of Russian and examines the implications of these results for the linguistic analysis of Russian stress. Experimental items were novel words that ended in a sequence of segments either homophonous with a Russian case ending or not. Carrier sentences were manipulated to either morphosyntactically support a case-marked form or not. Results show a strong morphological effect: speakers stressed the last syllable of the stem, i.e., the ultima in words without inflections, and the antepenult or penult in words with inflections (depending on length of the inflection). This is relevant for linguistic analysis of Russian because it uncovers a default location for stress that is not abundantly apparent in the synchronic phonology. A new formal analysis is presented using Optimality Theory, arguing for an interface constraint between prosodic structure (stress) and morphology (the right edge of the stem).

Keywords: metrical stress, experimental phonology, lexical stress, Russian, prosodic alignment, Optimality Theory, prosodic faithfulness, antifaithfulness

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Full citation: Crosswhite, Katherine, John Alderete, Tim Beasley, and Vita Markman. 2003. Morphological effects on default stress placement in novel Russian words. In Gina Garding and Mimu Tsujimura (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, pp. 151-164. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.