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Subsidiary Stresses in English

Eiji Yamada
First published:
2010 / 3 / 19
Price (in Japan only):
7,000 yen (Tax Not Included) (352 pages)


This book develops a theory to account for the subsidiary stress assignment of words in English. It shows that almost all the subsidiary stress patterns discussed in the phonological literature can be properly accounted for within a new framework, termed Positional Function Theory, which differs from current optimality theory or metrical theory.

The study postulates that the subsidiary stress rule is composed of 16 Positional Functions. For each word, a number of the 16 Positional Functions are activated according to their specified conditions for application. Each Positional Function gives its designated stress value in the computational plane. The resultant stress values of the activated Positional Functions are computed, and then mapped onto the stress representation plane, giving the desired subsidiary stress pattern. The study further shows that not only subsidiary (including tertiary) stress assignment but also variant pronunciations with different subsidiary stress patterns can be properly accounted for within this framework.

The book also presents a critical review of previous studies in rule-based (or metrical) phonology, and research in non-rule-based (or optimality) theory, highlighting significant problems. In addition, the study develops a method of determining reliable data for the investigation of subsidiary stress assignment.

EIJI YAMADA is Professor of English Linguistics at the Department of English at Fukuoka University, Japan. He has published extensively on compound words in English, Japanese accent, and English word stress.


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