An exploration of minimal and maximal metrical feet
This thesis presents a principled theory of bounded recursive footing. Building on previous research on metrical stress, and couched within the framework of Prosodic Hierarchy Theory, I argue that the rehabilitation of recursive feet in phonological representations leads to an improvement of our theory of prosody. I investigate the major driving forces that may cause recursion at the foot level and demonstrate that reference to recursive and non-recursive feet in various related and unrelated languages (e.g. Wargamay, Yidiɲ, Chugach, English, Dutch, German, Gilbertese, Seneca, Ryukyuan, Tripura Bangla, Cayuvava) allows us to provide a unified account of a wide range of prosodically-conditioned phenomena which would otherwise remain unexplained. In particular, I demonstrate that the assignment of binary and ternary stress, certain tonal distributions, some puzzling cases of vowel lengthening, consonant fortition, vowel reduction and consonant weakening all clearly benefit from recursion-based analyses. In arguing for the need for recursive feet in phonological representations, I identify new strength relations in prosodic systems. Besides the well-established strength dichotomy between the head of a foot (i.e. the strong branch of a foot) and the dependent of a foot (i.e. its weak branch), I show that languages may distinguish between further metrical prominence positions. These additional required positions do not need to be stipulated as they come for free in a framework that allows recursion at the level of the foot.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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