LSAAL 29: The Stress System of Berber

Product no.: ISBN 9783929075656
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The Stress System of Berber

An Optimality-theoretic Approach

Youcef Hdouch
Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra

The objective of this book is to enrich the research on Berber stress by applying the OT principles to account for stress assignment in AWTB prosodic words. In fact, our aim is to show that the assumptions laid out in the non-linear metrical analyses are not completely wrong, but at the same time, they do not provide an adequate account of the surface facts of AWTB nouns and verbs. The interaction of different constraints is sufficient to account for the location of stress in these grammatical categories. Our focus will be placed on the prosodic status of the extraprosodic affixes and clitics. Actually, one of the least studied linguistic phenomena in Berber phonology is stress. Apart from the impressionistic and linear treatments conducted by scholars who investigated the metrics of different varieties of Berber (cf. Laoust (1918 –1939), Apllegate (1958), Abdel- Massih (1968), Prasse (1972), Chami (1979), Bounfour (1985) … etc.), recent studies of Berber phonology conducted within the non-linear metrical framework include Adnor (1995), Marouane (1997) and Faizi (2002).

Two notions lie at the heart of the last three metrical accounts. The first one concerns syllable weight, a decisive factor in a number of stress systems. In this respect, Marouane (op-cit.) and Faizi (op-cit.) draw a distinction between syllables headed by the epenthetic schwa, and those headed by full vowels. The second notion involves extraprosodicity. Only Adnor and Marouane make use of this concept. However, while Adnor argues that the feminine suffix /t/ and the agentive morphemes /m/ or /n/ is extrametrical, Marouane attributes this feature to all prosodic words’ final consonants. In the literature, three features function as cues for the identification of stress. These are pitch, loudness and duration. However, the presence of these correlates either individually or collectively depends on the language under study. In AWTB, the examination of the native speakers’ realisations shows that stressed syllables tend to be lengthier and louder than the unstressed ones. As a result, duration and loudness are the phonetic correlates of stress in this variety. The remainder of this book is organised as follows. Chapter I reviews the three metrical treatments mentioned above. Inherent deficiencies are pointed out. Chapter II presents a description of the stress facts of AWTB nouns and verbs. Finally, chapter III consists of an OT account of the main issues raised by the facts of AWTB.

ISBN 9783929075656. LINCOM Studies in Afro-Asiatic Linguistics 29. 118pp. 2010.

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