North Germanic Tonal Accent is Equipollent and Metrical: Evidence from Compounding

Nina Hagen Kaldhol, Björn Köhnlein


For the North Germanic opposition between two tonal accents, it has been claimed that Accent 2 has a lexical tone, that Accent 1 has a lexical tone, that both accents are marked tonally in the lexicon, or that the accent opposition is based on two types of feet. Based on evidence from compounding, we argue that the opposition between Accent 1 and Accent 2 is equipollent, and that this is best expressed in a foot-based approach since each lexical item will necessarily receive a foot. Elaborating on previous metrical work on tonal accent, we assume that binary feet can be built on moras (= Accent 1) or syllables (= Accent 2) and show how this successfully captures compound accentuation in Central Swedish and Urban East Norwegian. Our foot-based analysis is in line with recent work on tonal accent that calls into question the claim that all tonal contrasts within syllables must be due to the presence of lexical tone. In addition, our analysis addresses issues surrounding the phonology of compounds in general, and prosodic effects of compounding in particular.


North Germanic; Tonal Accent; Compounding; Metrical Structure; Foot Structure

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