UConn Ling Lunch Nov. 27, 2012: Anthi Revithiadou

Anthi Revithiadou(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) gave a ling lunch talk on Nov. 27, 2012.

Is there a default stress in Greek?

Stress in Greek is lexically-encoded on morphemes and is assigned on the basis of a grammar-specific principle: stem accent prevails over inflectional suffix accent: /buγáð-ón/ [buγáðon] ‘laundry-gen.pl’ (Ralli & Touratzidis 1992; Revithiadou 1999). A trisyllabic window confines stress to the last three syllables of the word yielding (ante(pen))ultimate stress (1) (Drachman & Malikouti-Drachman 1999). Moreover, there is a split in the accentual behavior of nouns and verbs in the sense that verbs mainly opt for APU stress.

(1) a. θálasa /θalas-a/ accentless stem ‘sea-nom.sg’

b. kopéla /kopél-a/ accented stem ‘girl-nom.sg’

c. θalasón /θalas-ón/ accented suffix ‘market-gen.pl’

On the basis of the above, it has been claimed that APU stress represents the phonological default, i.e., the non-lexically inflicted stress (cf. Malikouti-Drachman & Drachman 1989; Revithiadou 1999). However, recent psycholinguistic studies reveal that (a) APU stress is not the preferred stress pattern in reading tasks (Protopapas et al. 2006), and (b) it is marginal in suffixless words, e.g. acronyms (Revithiadou et al. 2011; Topintzi & Kainada 2011). In this talk, we present the results of two perception experiments (Revithiadou, Lengeris & Ioannou 2012) and a production experiment (Apostolouda et al. 2011) on nominal stress, which reveal a split between two major stress patterns, namely APU and PU, depending on the morphological classhood of the noun. This finding suggests that the morphological class marker provides a cue for stress.

Selected references

Arvaniti, A. (2007). Greek Phonetics: The State of the Art. Journal of Greek Linguistics 8. 97-208.

Boersma, P. & D. Weenink (2011). Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program], retrieved 24 June 2011 from http://www.praat.org/.

Protopapas, A., S. Gerakaki & S. Alexandri (2006). Lexical and default stress assignment in reading Greek. Journal for Research in Reading 29. 418–432.

Revithiadou, A. (1999). Headmost Accent Wins. PhD dissertation, HIL/Leiden University. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.