The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 10/4 - Matthew Gordon (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Speaker: Matthew Gordon (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Title: (C)overt metrical structure and prominence: typology and case studies

Time: Friday, October 4th, 3:30pm – 5pm

Location: 32-155

Abstract: Although stress is typically assumed to be the definitive diagnostic for metrical structure, there are languages in which the primary evidence for feet is based on phenomena other than stress, including syncope, tone placement, lenition or fortition. In many of these languages, it is unclear whether stress patterns are consistent with the foot structure evidenced by these other processes; in others, it is likely that they conflict. These cases of metrical incoherence and uncertain coherence raise issues for representations of metrical structure and the role of covert structure in phonological theory. This talk will explore sources of evidence for iterative metrical structure with a focus on a series of phonetic and phonological case studies from languages in which the most salient evidence for feet is gleaned not from stress but from either syncope or tone. Phonetic data from these languages suggests convergence between stress and the iterative metrical structure diagnosed by other non-stress patterns. Parallel consideration of the different metrically-driven phenomena also allows for discerning between various metrical parses consistent with a single property viewed in isolation.