Weight and final vowels in the English stress system


This paper presents both dictionary evidence and experimental evidence that the quality of a word's final vowel matters in assigning main stress in English. Specifically, a final [i] pushes main stress leftwards - three syllable words ending with [i] strongly tend to take antepenultimate stress. The final vowel's influence can best be captured via the constraint NonParse-i, which forces a final [i] to be parsed outside of the prosodic word. This analysis is contrasted with a more traditional (for OT) analysis using NonFinality alone, which is insufficient to capture the interaction between the final vowel and the weight of the penultimate syllable. The paper presents a probabilistic model, using Maximum Entropy grammar, of the interaction between weight and final vowel in the lexicon of English, as well as in participants' productions of novel words in two experiments.


Manuscript as of October, 2018.

Final vowel and weight interact to predict stress in English.

    The word's final vowel and weight of the penultimate syllable interact to predict stress. Data are from the CMU pronouncing dictionary.