The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 4/14 - Ksenia Bogomolets (University of Auckland)

Speaker: Ksenia Bogomolets (University of Auckland)
Title: How to get rid of idiosyncrasy in lexical accent systems
Time: Friday, April 14th, 3:30pm – 5pm


Phonological theory usually draws a broad distinction between two types of (stress-)accent systems: phonologically predictable accent vs. lexical accent systems. Lexical accent languages are often assumed to employ various complex morphology-based strategies to deal with accent assignment and competition (e.g. Alderete 1999; Bogomolets 2020; Hayes 1995; Revithiadou 1999; van der Hulst 2014). Such complexity is then taken to warrant idiosyncratic rules/constraints, which makes lexical accent systems look quite irregular in comparison to the phonologically predictable accent systems. Considering data from a Uto-Aztecan language Choguita Rarámuri, I argue that the surface complexity of lexical accent systems falls out from cross-linguistically attested morpho-syntactic configurations, while the accent assigning systems themselves only require simple, predominantly phonology-driven rules. These rules crucially are active cross-linguistically as well and are highly comparable to those found in phonologically predictable accent systems.