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When Phonotactic Constraints are Not Enough

  • Kenneth W. Church
Chapter
  • 63 Downloads
Part of the The Kluwer International Series in Engineering and Computer Science book series (SECS, volume 38)

Abstract

Phonotactic constraints are not sufficiently strong to produce a unique syllabification in all cases. For example, in words like western, winter, water, veto, divinity, and so forth, phonotactic constraints do not tell us which way the /t/ will attach. Most theories of syllable structure invoke “tie-breaking principles” for words such as these. Two very common “tie-breaking principles” are The Maximize Onset Principle and Stress Resyllabification. By the first principle, there is a preference toward assigning consonants to the onset of the following syllable rather than than the coda of the previous syllable. Thus, for example, the /t/ in retire will be assigned to the onset of the second syllable (i.e., rě-tire) and not to the coda of the first syllable (i.e., *rět-ire). By the second principle, there is a preference toward assigning consonants to a stressed syllable over an unstressed one. Thus, for example, the /k/ in record will be assigned to the first syllable when it is stressed (i.e., réc-órd), and to the second syllable when it is stressed (i.e., rě-córd).

Keywords

Stress Pattern Primary Stress Syllable Structure Stressed Syllable Syllable Boundary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth W. Church
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyBostonUSA

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