Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 499–546

The serial interaction of stress and syncope

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-008-9051-3

Cite this article as:
McCarthy, J.J. Nat Language Linguistic Theory (2008) 26: 499. doi:10.1007/s11049-008-9051-3


Many languages respect the generalization that some or all unstressed vowels are deleted. This generalization proves elusive in classic Optimality Theory, however. The source of the problem is classic OT’s parallel evaluation, which requires that the effects of stress assignment and syncope be optimized together. This article argues for a version of OT called Harmonic Serialism, in which the effects of stress assignment and syncope can and must be evaluated sequentially. The results are potentially applicable to other domains where process interaction is best understood in derivational terms.


Harmonic SerialismOptimality TheoryStressSyncope

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA