On the Phonology and Semantics of Deaccentuation
Keywords:Deaccentuation, Prominence, Metrical Stress, Prosody, Optimality Theory
AbstractThe deaccentuation of given and/or repeated elements is familiar from many dialects of English. We propose that deaccentuation is essentially an optional postlexical phonological process of stress retraction triggered by two constraints: *Stress-Copy, which assigns a violation to a stress peak on a word with a segmentally identical copy in the left context, and Rightmost, which assigns a violation to every word between a stress peak and the right phrase edge. We quantify deaccentuation by defining it as being perceived with less stress than expected, where expected stress is calculated by an implementation of Liberman and Prince's (1977) phrasal stress algorithm. We provide empirical evidence for our analysis based on the first inaugurals of six former U.S. presidents.
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