Reanalyzing final consonant extrametricality

A proportional theory of weight
Original Paper

Abstract

Many languages, including Norwegian, exhibit CVC weight asymmetry, where CVC is heavy but behaves as light word-finally. This asymmetry is proposed to be motivated by facts of phonetic length and human perception. A production experiment in Norwegian shows a parallel proportional increase for the rimes of heavy syllables across positions. A theory of weight is advanced in which a syllable shape in a given position is only heavy if it is, on average, sufficiently proportionally longer than the rime of a CV syllable in the same position. While a CVC syllable reaches this proportional increase threshold non-finally, it fails to do so word-finally. Final lengthening affects word-final syllables, causing there to be a smaller proportional increase between the rime of a final CV and final CVC. A further study finds perception to behave as predicted; that is, larger raw increases are needed to reach a sufficient length for word final syllables to be categorized as heavy. The proportional increase theory of weight provides a phonetically and perceptually motivated explanation for CVC weight asymmetry.

Keywords

Extrametricality Final lengthening Mora NonFinality Norwegian Syllable weight 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linguistics Program, Department of EnglishCollege of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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