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On the existence of sonority-driven stress in Gujarati

  • Shu-hao Shih (a1)

This paper presents evidence against the existence of sonority-driven stress in Gujarati. Gujarati is one of the clearest and most revealing cases of sonority-driven stress with distinctions among peripheral vowels. A production experiment was performed to determine the accuracy of the claim that [a] attracts stress away from the default position. Of the five types of phonetic evidence examined, only F1 provides clear evidence for stress, revealing stress to be consistently penultimate, and not sonority-driven. As Gujarati is one of the core cases of sonority-driven stress, this finding challenges the claim that it exists. However, this paper does not exclude the possibility that stress may avoid schwa (or central vowels), as reported for several languages. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed, particularly for theories that have a ‘symmetric effect’ and for descriptions that are impressionistic.

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I wish to thank Paul de Lacy for his detailed comments and suggestions on previous versions of this paper. I am grateful to the associate editor and four anonymous reviewers for their very thorough and helpful reviews. Matt Gordon and Akinbiyi Akinlabi also provided valuable advice and comments. I want to thank Pooja Patel for helping me construct the stimuli, and Chun-Yen Cheng and Dave Kleinschmidt for their help on statistics. For acoustic analysis, I thank my research assistants at Rutgers Phonology and Field Research Laboratory. All errors are my own.

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