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The phonology of stress in Polish
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Kisseberth, Charles W.
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Literature, Slavic and East European
"This thesis provides a detailed and comprehensive study of the Polish stress system. Two aspects of stress are considered, its position within various domains (words, compounds, ""clitic groups"") and its relative value when compared to other stresses. The work is conducted within the constraint-based model known as Optimality Theory, or OT (Prince and Smolensky 1993)."
"In an OT analysis, the position of stress in a quantity-insensitive language as Polish is accounted for by a number of hierarchically ranked ""foot structure"" constraints. Among them, there are constraints which impose a particular shape of a metrical foot (Foot-Type:Trochee, Foot-Binarity), account for the general leftward syllable parsing (Parse-Syllable dominating Align-Foot:Left) or situate the feet at the edges of morphological and phonological domains (the right or left ""alignment"" constraints). It is especially notable how the interaction of such constraints predicts not only the general most typical facts but also immediately accounts for the residual or ""exceptional"" cases. For example, Polish compounds normally have the same stress pattern as words in phrases. But when they contain monosyllabic components, their stress pattern is as that of a single word (although they show external sandhi effects at the compound juncture). Both, the ""regular"" and the ""exceptional"" behaviors, follow straightforwardly from the dominance of Foot-Binarity over the lower constraints of the ""alignment"" type."
"However, the standard OT analysis based on the constraints mentioned above does not accommodate all facts of Polish stress for which novel theoretical solutions have been proposed. ""Lexical"" constraints appealing to the prosodic weakness of particular lexical items (the derivational suffix /Ik/; a class of clitics) account for the ""exceptional"" antepenultimate stress in certain nouns and for the apparently bizarre parsing of sequences of clitics. It is argued that lexical constraints of a similar kind provide a formal device for the treatment of various morphophonemic processes, especially those of ""irregular"" weakening or deletion."
The foot structure of groups containing proclitics presents another problem for the standard alignment-type of analysis. The proposed solution involves the Identity constraint which is applicable to a variety of phenomena showing the anti-phonological identity effects, such as analogy or leveling, reduplication, cases of apparent cyclicity, etc.
The issue of relative stress prominence has not been treated in the OT literature before (except for the location of the main word stress). In the present work, a coherent set of surface constraints is proposed to account for the attested stress contrasts, reflected in the grid representation. The Polish data are discussed in detail but some cross-linguistic reference is also made, specifically, to show how the particular differences between languages follow from different constraint rankings.