The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 2/24 - Michelle Fullwood

Speaker: Michelle Fullwood
Title: Asymmetric correlations between English verb transitivity and stress
Date/Time: Monday, Feb 24, 5:30p
Location: 32-D831

It is well-known that lexical categories affect phonological behavior (Smith 2011). Perhaps the best-known example is that English disyllabic nouns are likely to be trochaic (94%), while disyllabic verbs are likely to be iambic (69%) (Chomsky & Halle 1968, Kelly & Bock 1988). In this talk, I will show that the asymmetry goes further: English disyllabic intransitive verbs are more likely to be trochaic than transitive verbs, even after controlling for morphological category and syllabic profile. I then explore possible explanations for the asymmetry and sketch a grammar that, based on the influence of prosodic environments, would result in the observed stress patterns.