Skip to main content

Word stress assignment in German, English and Dutch: Quantity-sensitivity and extrametricality revisited

Abstract

English, German, and Dutch show very similar word stress patterns, in that word stress is not fixed to a certain position within a word, but realized within the final three syllables. There is, however, no consensus on the actual stress-assigning algorithms and the role of quantity (e.g., Kiparsky 1982; Wiese 2000; Hayes 1995; Giegerich 1985, 1992; Trommelen and Zonneveld 1999a, b). Existing studies are methodologically problematic since they largely depend on convenience samples of existing words and do not test their claims with new words. Using mixed effects regression and classification trees as analytical tools, this paper presents the results of a production experiment with pseudowords and an analysis of large random samples as found in the CELEX lexical database. It is shown that stress assignment is sensitive to syllabic weight in all three languages, though in slightly different ways. The implications of these results for the metrical structure of the three languages are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Alber, Birgit. 1997. Quantity sensitivity as the result of constraint interaction. In Phonology in progress: Progress in phonology, ed. Gert Booij and J. van de Weijer, 1–45. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Albright, Adam. 2009. Feature-based generalisation as a source of gradient acceptability. Phonology 26: 9–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arciuli, Joanne, Padraic Monaghan, and Nada Seva. 2010. Learning to assign lexical stress during reading aloud: Corpus, behavioural and computational investigations. Journal of Memory and Language 63: 180–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arndt-Lappe, Sabine. 2011. Towards an exemplar-based model of English compound stress. Journal of Linguistics 47(3): 549–585.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baayen, Harald R. 2008. Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Baayen, Harald R., Richard Piepenbrock, and L. Gulikers. 1995. The CELEX lexical database. Release 2 [CD-ROM]. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania.

  • Baayen, R.H., D.J. Davidson, and D.M. Bates. 2008. Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language 59: 390–412.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bates, D., D. Sarkar, M. Bates, and L. Matrix. 2007. The lme4 package. R Package Version 2(4): 1.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bauer, Laurie, Rochelle Lieber, and Ingo Plag. 2013. The Oxford reference guide to English morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Booij, Geert. 1999. The Phonology of Dutch. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Booij, Geert, and Jerzy Rubach. 1992. Lexical phonology. In International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. William Bright, 293–296. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Burzio, Luigi. 1987. English stress. In Certamen Phonologicum: Papers from the 1987 Cortona Phonology Meeting, ed. Pier M. Bertinetto and Michele Loporcaro, 153–175. Torino: Rosenberg and Sellier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burzio, Luigi. 1991. English vowel length and foot structure. In Certamen Phonologicum II. Papers from the 1990 Cortona Phonology Meeting, ed. Pier M. Bertinetto and Michael Kenstowicz, 121–145. Torino: Rosenberg and Sellier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burzio, Luigi. 1994. Principles of English stress. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 72. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Chomsky, Noam, and Morris Halle. 1968. The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper and Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cutler, Anne, and Dennis Norris. 1988. The role of strong syllables in segmentation for lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 14: 113–121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cutler, Anne, and Wilma van Donselaar. 2001. Voornaam is not (really) a homophone: Lexical prosody and lexical access in Dutch. Language and Speech 44: 171–195.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Daelemans, Walter, Steven Gillis, and Gert Durieux. 1994. The acquisition of stress: a data-oriented approach. Computational Linguistics 20: 421–451.

    Google Scholar 

  • Domahs, Ulrike, Richard Wiese, Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, and Matthias Schlesewsky. 2008. The processing of German word stress: Evidence for the prosodic hierarchy. Phonology 25(1): 1–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eisenberg, Peter. 1991. Syllabische Struktur und Wortakzent: Prinzipien der Prosodik deutscher Wörter. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 10: 37–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ernestus, Mirjam, and R. Harald Baayen. 2003. Predicting the unpredictable: Interpreting neutralized segments in Dutch. Language 79: 5–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ernestus, Miriam, and Anneke Neijt. 2008. Word length and the location of primary word stress in Dutch, German, and English. Linguistics 46(3): 507–540.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Féry, Caroline. 1986. Metrische Phonologie und Wortakzent im Deutschen. Studium Linguistik 20: 16–43.

  • Féry, Caroline. 1998. German word stress in Optimality Theory. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 2: 101–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giegerich, Heinz. 1985. Metrical phonology and phonological structure: German and English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giegerich, Heinz. 1992. English phonology: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Guion, Susan G., J.J. Clark, Tetsuo Harada, and Ratree P. Wayland. 2003. Factors affecting stress placement for English nonwords include syllabic structure, lexical class, and stress patterns of phonologically similar words. Language and Speech 46(4): 403–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gupta, Prahlad, and Dave Touretzky. 1994. Connectionist models and linguistic theory: Investigations of stress systems in language. Cognitive Science 18: 1–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gussenhoven, Carlos. 2009. Vowel duration, syllable quantity, and stress in Dutch. In The nature of the word. Essays in honor of Paul Kiparsky, ed. Hanson Kristin and Inkelas Sharon, 181–198. Cambridge, MA/London, UK: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, Tracy A. 1992. Syllable structure and syllable-related processes in German. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hammond, Michael. 2004. Gradience, phonotactics, and the lexicon in English phonology. International Journal of English Studies 4: 1–24.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hayes, Bruce. 1982. Extrametricality and English stress. Linguistic Inquiry 13: 227–276.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hayes, Bruce. 1995. Metrical stress theory: Principles and case studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hothorn, Torsten 2009. CHAID package for R. http://r-forge.r-project.org/projects/chaid/ http://r-forge.r-project.org/projects/chaid/.

  • Hothorn, Torsten and Achim Zeileis. 2012. Partykit: A Toolkit for Recursive Partytioning. Version 0.1-4.

  • Hyman, Larry M. 1985. A theory of phonological weight. Dordrecht: Foris.

  • Janßen [Domahs], Ulrike, and Frank Domahs. 2008. Going on with optimised feet: Evidence for the interaction between segmental and metrical structure in phonological encoding from a case of primary progressive aphasia. Aphasiology 22(11): 1157–1175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Janßen [Domahs], Ulrike. 2003. Untersuchungen zum Wortakzent im Deutschen und Niederländischen. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Düsseldorf. Available (September 2012) http://deposit.ddb.de/cgi-bin/dokserv?idn=972217770&dok_var=d1&dok_ext=pdf&filename=972217770.pdf

  • Jessen, Michael. 1999. German. In Word prosodic systems in the languages of Europe, ed. Harry van der Hulst, 515–545. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kager, René. 1989. A metrical theory of stress and destressing in English and Dutch. Ph.D. dissertation. (= Linguistic Models 14). Dordrecht: Foris Publications.

  • Kaltenbacher, Erika. 1994. Typologische Aspekte des Wortakzents: Zum Zusammenhang von Akzentposition und Silbengewicht im Arabischen und Deutschen. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 13: 20–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kass, G.V. 1980. An exploratory technique for investigating large quantities of categorical data. Applied Statistics 29(2): 119–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kiparsky, Paul. 1982. From cyclic phonology to lexical phonology. In The structure of phonological representations, vol. 1, ed. Harry van der Hulst and Norval Smith, 131–175. Doordrecht: Foris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kiparsky, Paul. 1985. Some consequences of lexical phonology. Phonology Yearbook 2: 83–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knaus, Johannes, and Ulrike Domahs. 2009. Experimental evidence for optimal and minimal metrical structure of German word prosody. Lingua 119: 1396–1413.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lahiri, Aditi, and Jacques Koreman. 1988. Syllable weight and quantity in Dutch. Proceedings of the 7th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 217–228.

  • Liberman, Marc Y., and Alan Prince. 1977. On stress and linguistic rhythm. Lingustic Inquiry 8: 249–336.

    Google Scholar 

  • McCarthy, John J., and Alan Prince. 1993. Generalized alignment. In Yearbook of Morphology 1993, ed. Geert Booij and Jaap van Marle, 79–153. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Pater, Joe. 2000. Non-uniformity in English secondary stress: The role of ranked and lexically specific constraints. Phonology 17: 236–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Plag, Ingo. 2010. Compound stress assignment by analogy: The constituent family bias. Zeitschrift für Sprachwisenschaft 29(2): 243–282.

    Google Scholar 

  • Plag, Ingo, Gero Kunter, Sabine Lappe, and Maria Braun. 2008. The role of semantics, argument structure, and lexicalization in compound stress assignment in English. Language 84(4): 760–794.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Prince, Alan, and Paul Smolensky. 1993/2004. Optimality Theory: Constraint interaction in generative grammar. Rutgers University Technical Report No. 2. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University, Center for Cognitive Science.

  • R Development Core Team. 2011. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Vienna: Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0.

  • Ramers, Karl Heinz 1992. Ambisilbische Konsonanten im Deutschen. In Silbenphonologie des Deutschen, ed. Peter Eisenberg, Karl Heinz Ramers, and Heinz Vater 246–283 Tübingen: Narr (= Studien zur deutschen Grammatik 42).

  • Rietveld, Toni, Joop Kerkhoff, and Carlos Gussenhoven. 2004. Word prosodic structure and vowel duration in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics 32: 349–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roca, Iggy. 1992. Constraining extrametricality. In Phonologica 1988, ed. Wolfgang Dressler, Hans Lüschutzky, Oskar Pfeiffer, and John Rennison, 239–248. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Röttger, Timo, Ulrike Domahs, Marion Grande, and Frank Domahs. 2012. Structural factors affecting the assignment of word stress in German. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 24(1): 53–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, Philip T., and Robert G. Baker. 1976. The influence of English spelling on pronunciation. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 15: 267–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trommelen, Mieke, and Wim Zonneveld. 1989. Klemtoon en Metrische Fonologie. Muiderberg: Coutinho.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trommelen, Mike, and Wim Zonneveld. 1999a. English. In Word prosodic systems in the languages of Europe, ed. Harry van der Hulst, 478–491. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trommelen, Mike, and Wim Zonneveld. 1999b. Dutch. In Word prosodic systems in the languages of Europe, ed. Harry van der Hulst, 492–515. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • van der Hulst, Harry G. 1984. Syllable structure and stress in Dutch. Dordrecht: Foris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van der Hulst, Harry G. 2003. Dutch syllable structure meets Government Phonology. In A new century of phonology and phonological theory: A festschrift for professor Shosuke Haraguchi on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, ed. Honma Takeru, Okazaki Masao, Tabata Toshiyuki, and Tanaka Shin-ichi, 313–343. Tokyo, Japan: Kaitakusha.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Donselaar, Wilma, Mariëtte Koster, and Anne Cutler. 2005. Exploring the role of lexical stress in lexical recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A 58: 251–273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • van Oostendorp, Marc. 1995. Vowel quality and syllable projection. Ph.D. Dissertation, Tilburg University.

  • Vennemann, Theo. 1990. Syllable structure and simplex accent in Modern Standard German. Chicago Linguistic Society 26(2): 399–412.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vennemann, Theo. 1991. Syllable structure and syllable cut prosodies in Modern Standard German. In Certamen Phonologicum II: Papers from the Cortona Phonology Meeting 1990, ed. Pier M. Bertinetto, Michael Kenstowicz, and Michele Loporcaro, 211–245. Torino: Rosenberg and Sellier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vennemann, Theo. 1995. Der Zusammenbruch der Metrik im Spätmittelalter und sein Einfluss auf die Metrik. In Quantitätsproblematik und Metrik, ed. Hans Fix, 185–223. Amsterdam: Radopi. Greifswalder Symposion zur germanistischen Grammatik.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiese, Richard. 2000. The phonology of German. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wurzel, Wolfgang U. 1970. Der Fremdwortakzent im Deutschen. Linguistics 56: 87–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wurzel, Wolfgang U. 1980. Der deutsche Wortakzent: Fakten - Regeln - Prinzipien. Ein Beitrag zu einer natürlichen Akzenttheorie. Zeitschrift für Germanistik 3: 299–318.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zevin, Jason, and Marc Joanisse. 2000. Stress assignment in nonword reading. Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences 41B: S5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zonneveld, Wim, and Dominique Nouveau. 2004. Child word stress competence: an experimental approach. In Constraints in phonological acquisition, ed. René Kager, Joe Pater, and Wim Zonneveld, 369–408. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ulrike Domahs.

Appendix

Appendix

A. German Pseudowords

vc.v.vcc v.vc.vcc vc.v.vc v.v.vc
Gam.do.kust Ga.dom.kust Bin.sa.kaf Bä.lu.ful
Hul.sa.domp Hu.sal.domp Dim.pu.sat Dä.mu.pok
Kon.fa.sorp Ko.fan.sorp Ful.go.but Fe.ko.mot
  Lü.ras.palf Gos.ta.ful Go.nü.bak
  Mä.fal.rolk Hol.ta.pok Hü.ba.guf
Nom.pu.lams No.pur.lams Kis.nu.mot Ke.ga.fur
Pas.ro.garf Pa.ros.garf Lan.do.guf La.fö.was
Rul.ko.menk Ru.kol.menk Mur.la.was Va.so.haf
Ser.da.nulz Se.daf.nulz Pel.no.fur Wo.ta.sat
Tak.lu.tarp Ta.luf.tarp   Zö.da.but
v.vc.vc v.v.v v.vc.v vc.vc.v
Bo.kam.was De.to.pu Bu.mol.ta Dir.san.ra
Da.pön.bak Fu.sa.fo Me.fal.bo Kat.lön.bo
Fä.lus.fur Ga.rö.so Na.dur.so Kum.sak.pu
Go.rum.ful Ho.bu.lo Pa.lön.fo Las.fon.ta
Ra.bosch.kaf Kä.na.ra Ro.taf.ku Mok.nas.fo
Si.fas.mot Lö.mu.da Sä.lot.ga Nel.kum.lo
Tu.lor.sat Mü.la.ku Tö.pum.lo Rän.gul.da
Vu.pal.but Ne.kü.ga We.läs.ra Sap.wur.ku
Wo.sol.pok Pa.go.ta Vü.sol.da Täm.buf.ga
Zü.bal.guf Ru.ga.bo Zi.lat.pu Wis.top.so

B. English Pseudowords

vc.v.vcc v.vc.vcc vc.v.vc v.v.vc
rulcomest sadufnalf Binsacub baloguth
masforuld parosgarf Gostafaz lamopog
nompolans gadomcust Holtanof lafowoth
serdanuls huzaldomp folmadoth fekomof
lusrapalf bofangond lundogof gonusab
tilcopalt mafalrolt molravos hanogaf
confagond nopumlans fulgobog cagafoth
holsadomp rucolmest pelnofut sudabod
posragols niraspalf zalfolup votasat
gamdocoft tolufpalt thimravas masocath
v.vc.vc v.v.v v.vc.v vc.vc.v
bocamvas hobalu tholatpo tambufga
falosfuth dotopu visalda molnasfo
zefasmof gerosu rocafta nelcumlo
sudalgaf cabora tosumlo cumzacto
goromfod mulako nadalco lisfonta
dapunbod losuda velasra domsanro
raboshgat pulota palonfo cathlonbo
godolpog fotafo Silatpa wistocso
tulasrup nipago bomolta rongalda
nopalbol rogaba mefalbo lupvulco

C. Dutch Pseudowords

vc.v.vcc v.vc.vcc vc.v.vc v.v.vc
gandokost gadomkost binsakaf belufol
holsadomp hosaldomp dimposat demopok
konfasorp kofansorp falgobot fekomot
  luraspalf gostafol gonubak
metfarolk mefalrolk holtapok hubagof
nompolams noporlams kisnomot kegafor
pasrogarf parosgarf landogof lafuwas
rulkomenk rokolmenk morlawas vasohaf
serdanols sedafnuls pelnofor wotasat
taklotarp taloftarp   zudabot
v.vc.vc v.v.v v.vc.v vc.vc.v
bokamwas detono bomolta dirsanra
daponbak fosafo mefalbo katlondo
felosfar garoso nadorso komsakpo
goromfol hobolo palonfo lasfonta
raboskaf kenara rotafko moknasfo
sifasmot lumoda selotga nelkomlo
tolorsat mulako silatpu rengolda
wosolpok nekuga tupomlo sapworko
vopalbot pagota vusolda tembofga
zubalgof rogabo welesra wistopso

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Domahs, U., Plag, I. & Carroll, R. Word stress assignment in German, English and Dutch: Quantity-sensitivity and extrametricality revisited. J Comp German Linguistics 17, 59–96 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-014-9063-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-014-9063-9

Keywords

  • Germanic word stress
  • quantity-sensitivity
  • pseudoword production task
  • corpus analysis
  • metrical prosody