Stress Restricts Reduplication

Sam Zukoff


This paper considers the typology of reduplicant shape, and argues that a system with freely-rankable templatic constraints on reduplicant size/shape over-generates. A survey of Australian languages with quantity insensitive left-to-right alternating cyclic stress systems finds that monosyllabic prefixal reduplicants are not attested; all prefixal partial reduplication patterns in such languages are disyllabic. The disyllabic pattern allows for complete satisfaction of all otherwise undominated stress constraints, whereas any monosyllabic reduplicant would induce violation of one of these constraints. The typological absence of the monosyllabic pattern in these languages thus follows only if templatic constraints ("Reduplicant Size") must be subordinated to otherwise undominated stress constraints ("Stress Requirements"). This is captured through a meta-ranking condition on the phonological grammar: StressReq >> RedSize (S>>R). The paper further explores how this meta-ranking is compatible with prosodically variable yet predictable reduplicant shape in Ponapean, and an apparently problematic case of monosyllabic reduplication in Ngan’gityemerri which turns out to be the exception that proves the rule.


Reduplication; Stress; Reduplicant Shape; Reduplicative Templates; Optimality Theory; Typology; Diyari; Ponapean; Ngan’gityemerri

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