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Reconstructing proto-oceanic stress

Lynch, John D. (2000) Reconstructing proto-oceanic stress. Oceanic Linguistics, 39 (1). pp. 53-82. ISSN 0029-8115

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Proto-Oceanic (POc) probably did not have a vowel length contrast. Little work has been done on stress in POc, “but phonologically conservative languages generally agree in displaying primary stress on the penultimate syllable and secondary stress on every second syllable preceding the penultimate, and this was probably the POc pattern” (Ross 1998:18), a view held by most Oceanists. Recent research within Oceanic, however, suggests that patterns of regular penultimate-syllable stress are not as widespread throughout the family as was initially thought, and that certain interstage protolanguages need to be reconstructed with something other than regular penultimate-syllable stress and something other than the pattern exhibited by their daughter languages. By investigating stress patterns in a wide range of Oceanic languages, I show (i) that POc stress was probably assigned on the basis of moraic rather than syllabic trochees, with word-²nal closed syllables being treated as “heavy” and thus receiving primary stress, and (ii) that other modern patterns developed quite independently in a number of languages.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Pacific Languages Unit
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2000 22:26
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2012 22:26

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