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Phonetic evidence for an iterative stress system: the issue of consonantal rhythm

  • Beata Łukaszewicz (a1)

In her study published in this journal, Newlin-Łukowicz (2012) calls into question the existence of bidirectional stress systems. The argument hinges on the failure to detect acoustic correlates of word-internal subsidiary stress in Polish, the language hitherto considered to be a classic example of metrical bidirectionality. This paper reappraises the issue, reporting on an acoustic study of paired five- and six-syllable words in Polish (e.g. ˎpomido′rowyˎpomiˎdoro-′wego). The results indicate that the words differ significantly with respect to relative consonant duration (PVI values) in the onset of the third syllable, depending on whether the syllable bears subsidiary stress (as in six-syllable words) or remains unstressed (as in five-syllable words). Similar effects are reported in the initial syllable, but not in the second syllable, which remains consistently unstressed. The conclusion is that Polish has iterative stress, corroborating its traditional description as having a bidirectional stress system.

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I wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers and editors of Phonology for discussion and criticism, which were very helpful in improving the paper. I am also grateful to Janina Mołczanow for her comments on the first version of the paper. Thanks are also due to the audiences at the 23rd Manchester Phonology Meeting and Phonetics and Phonology in Europe 2015 at the University of Cambridge, where preliminary results were presented. I would also like to thank the Polish speakers who took part in the experiment. This research was supported by the National Science Centre, Poland (grant 2015/17/B/HS2/01455). All errors are mine.

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