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Some Effects of the Weight-to-Stress Principle and Grouping Harmony in the Goidelic Languages

Green, Antony Dubach

Grouping Harmony (GH) and the Weight-to-Stress Principle (WSP) (Prince 1990) together predict that stressed elements should tend to lengthen and that unstressed elements should tend to shorten.

In addition, it is predicted that in a trochaic system, a sequence (H L) should tend to become (L L), since (L L) makes a better trochee than (H L). Besides these quantitative consequences of the WSP and GH, one might expect to find accentual consequences; thus, a sequence (L H) should receive iambic (i.e. right-prominent) stress, and sequences (L L) and (H L) should receive trochaic (i.e. left-prominent) stress.

In this paper I show evidence for all of these predictions from the closely related languages Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx, examining free variation, dialectal variation, and historical change in prosodic structure in a constraint-based framework following Optimality Theory (McCarthy and Prince 1993,1995; Prince and Smolensky 1993).

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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