Typological gaps in iambic nonfinality correlate with learning difficulty

Joe Pater, Brandon Prickett


This paper discusses gaps in stress typology that are unexpected from the perspective of a foot-based theory and shows that the patterns pose difficulties for a computationally implemented learning algorithm. The unattested patterns result from combining theoretical elements whose effects are generally well-attested, including iambic footing, nonfinality, word edge alignment and a foot binarity requirement. The patterns can be found amongst the 124 target stress systems constructed by Tesar and Smolensky (2000) as a test of their approach to hidden structure learning. A learner with a Maximum Entropy grammar that uses a form of Expectation Maximization to deal with hidden structure was found to often fail on these unattested languages.


Computational Phonology; Stress; Typology; Learning

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/amp.v9i0.5175

Copyright (c) 2022 Joe Pater, Brandon Prickett

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/