Morphologically governed accent in Optimality Theory [Revised doctoral dissertation]

John Alderete

This dissertation examines the influence of morphological factors on stress and pitch accent. Two basic types are recognized. In root-controlled accent, inherent accent in a root overrides inherent affix accent; as a result, affixal accent is only realized in words with unaccented roots. In affix-controlled accent, the presence of a particular affix triggers one of several accentual mutations in the stem: deletion of accent (or a “dominance effect”), insertion of an accent (often known as pre- or post-accentuation), and accent shift or “flop”.

I argue that these two types of accentual behavior, despite important differences, are united under the rubric of faithfulness constraints in Optimality Theory. Root-controlled accent is a consequence of the privileged faithfulness status of roots over affixes, as has been shown in other empirical domains such as vowel harmony. Affix-controlled accent is due to a novel type of constraint, anti-faithfulness, which evaluates a pair of morphologically related words and requires an alternation in the shared stem.

The principal case of root-controlled accent studied in this dissertation is the Uto Aztecan language Cupeño. In addition, I show how the accentual systems of Japanese and Russian fall within the scope of root faithfulness constraints. The study of these cases leads to a substantive restriction on the range of edge effects in accent systems, and clarifies a role for root accentedness in blocking morpho-accentual processes.

A number of properties of affix-controlled accentual processes are identified and shown to follow from the anti-faithfulness thesis. Affix-controlled accent is (I) morphologically triggered, (II) stem-mutating, and (III) grammar dependent. (I-II) follow from the assumption that anti-faithfulness operates on related words: forcing an alternation in a pair of words ensures that affix controlled accent is morphological because it contrasts two word classes. Furthermore, as a relation between words, anti-faithfulness only affects the interval of a word which occurs throughout a paradigm, namely the stem (II). Finally, anti-faithfulness does not fully specify how a pair of words should differ accentually; its specific effects therefore depend on the larger grammar in which it is embedded (III).

Affix-controlled accent in Russian, Japanese, Cupeño, Limburg Dutch, and Aguaruna (Jivaroan) is investigated in a series of case studies. I argue that anti-faithfulness constitutes an integrated theory of the diverse morpho-accentual phenomena found in these languages, explains the important differences between the accentual properties of roots and affixes, and establishes parallels with non-accentual affix-controlled phenomena.

Keywords: stress, lexical stress, pitch accent, process morphology, dominance effects, pre- and post-accentuation, accent shift, positional faithfulness, prosodic faithfulness, alignment, Optimality Theory, antifaithfulness, transderivational relations, Russian, Japanese, Cupeño, Aguaruna, Dutch

Downloads:  2001 book part 1, 2001 book part 2,  1999 version

Full citation: Alderete, John. 2001. Morphologically governed accent in Optimality Theory. Routledge publishing series, Outstanding dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Routledge.