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Metrical Phonology
Phonological Structure above the Level of the Segment

Evidence for the existence of a syllable as a unit:

1. Poetics: alternation of strong and weak syllables 2. Calling out for someone:
A-lex! vs. A-le-xan-der! A-le-xan-der! vs. A-le-xa-ni-ja!

3. Judgment about a well formed/ possible word:

*tlee, *rtom, etc.



Phonological processes that depend on syllable structure (L-velarization; glottalization):

battle [bQt], quilt [kwIt] vs.Atlantic [tlQntIk], *[tQntIk]


Evidence for syllable structure:

speech errors (spoonerisms):
pussy 12() cat > cussy 345 > 32() pat 145

-t l Q n-t I k
petrol [pe/rl] vs. patrol [ptrol]

kwI t



stress assignment: Latin: In words of more than two syllables, if the penultimate syllable contains a long vowel, a diphthong, or V+C, it is stressed: a) b) c) d) re-la:-tus., re-fec-tus e-xis-ti-mo: , te-ne-brae te-go: , to-ga ui-rum but ui-rum-que

p e /- r l p -t r o l

end of a syllable matters difference between the beginning and the end of a syllable 1 Onset r structure inside of Rhyme: 1 Onset r 0 Rhyme 2 9 Nucleus Coda u m 0 Rhyme um (as in [uirumque])

Syllable types: V, CV, (No Coda) VC, CVC, etc. (Coda allowed) restrictions: only liquids, or nasals, or all sonorants, or sonorants and fricatives, etc.) Open vs. closed syllable Syllable template : 1 0 O R 2 9 N C 38 38 ((O2)O1) N1(N2) (C1(C2)) English: max CCCVCCC strange or strength
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Nucleus is occupied by the most sonorant type of segments available in a language (Vs) - but Cf. Slovak: English: Berber:

srn deer, vlk wolf battle, button

stops can be nuclei

The standard distinctive features do not express this relative ranking and there is a tradition in phonology suggesting that we should have recourse to a sonority hierarchy. Sonority max low vowels low-mid vowels high-mid vowels high vowels glides rhotics laterals nasals voiced fricatives voiceless fricatives voiced stops voiceless stops

Clear ranking of accessibility to the nucleus position: Liquids are assigned to the N position only when there are no Vs available in a sequence; nasals are assigned to the N position when there are no Vs or liquids available.

Onsets: ascending sonority Codas: descending sonority The majority of languages respect this: flint, train, queen *bnit, *psint What about books, tests? Extrametricality: segments that are not/ may not be integrated to the syllable structure are extrametrical.

Rhythm Syllables in speech are not equal: strong (prominent, stressed) vs. weak (unstressed)

Strong syllable = head (headedness) Unstressed syllables are grouped around a stressed one and form a foot (rhythmic unit). For a given language, in a foot, unstressed syllable(s) either precede or follow the stressed syllable.
binary foot (bounded) vs. unbounded foot degenerate foot: one syllable
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Prosodic hierarchy:
binary right-headed foot = iambic foot (iamb)

binary left-headed foot = trochaic foot (trochee)

Utterance Intonational phrase > Phonological phrase > Clitic group > Prosodic Word > Foot >