Ternary Constituents Are a Consequence of Mora Sluicing


  • Ben Hermans Meertens Institute
  • Francesc Torres-Tamarit VU University Amsterdam and Meertens Institute




Mora Sluicing, Optimality Theory, Ternary Stress, Uneven Trochee


While ternary rhythm exists, ternary feet do not, not even indirectly by means of recursion. We propose that ternary rhythm arises from mora sluicing, the phenomenon whereby moras can be excluded from the stress plane to satisfy an instance of NO-CLASH in a model that conceives metrical prominences as headed constituents. We demonstrate that the notion of mora sluicing has high explanatory power: it is necessary on independent grounds to explain otherwise unrelated phenomena such as uneven trochee-creating processes in Mohawk and Central Slovak, and opaque stress-epenthesis interactions in Mohawk. One fundamental move derived from the metrical model sketched in this paper is the relation between what we call line1 constituents (phonological syllables) and phonetic syllables (namely CV or CVC sequences), which is not one-to-one anymore, as it is in standard syllable theory.