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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

Prosodic typology meets phonological representations

From the book Phonological Typology

  • Carlos Gussenhoven


Universally, phonological grammars have three structural features. First, there are segments (vowels, consonants, tones); second, there are constituents that contain them (the prosodic hierarchy); and third, there are two ways in which segments are anchored in constituents (phonological alignment and association). The specific segments and constituents a language has are not necessarily shared with other languages. There are three points that arise from this conceptualization. First, while word stress is a constituent (a foot), sentential prominence is derivative and not to be represented in terms of additional mechanisms like metrical grids or trees. Second, association appears to have been overused at the expense of the simpler concept of phonological alignment, to the detriment of descriptions of intonation. Third, the much-discussed word prosodic concepts of tone, stress, and accent turn out to belong to each of the three very different structural features of phonological grammars: tone is a segment, stress a prosodic constituent, and accent an instruction for association. As such, they will not easily fit into a single typological taxonomy.

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