This dissertation develops a purely tonal model of free stress systems exemplified by East Slavic. The author demonstrates that tonal representations and processing mechanisms can successfully account for the same scope of data as the existing analyses of free stress based on accents and similar diacritical marking. The adoption of tonal representations arguably results in simpler analyses. The difference between dominant and recessive accented suffixes is now explained as following from the different association status of the underlying high tone . It is proposed that the increased prominence of the immediately pretonic syllable in many East Slavic dialects can be seen as resulting from the spreading of phonological tone.
Next , the tonal model developed for East Slavic stress is extended to the accentuation of Proto - Indo - European athematic nouns and to length alternations in Slovak with encouraging results. Given the tonal model of free stress , it is concluded that free stress is incompatible with unpredictable tone. This thesis will be of interest to those working in the area of Slavic linguistics , in theoretical phonology and especially to linguists interested in stress , tone and accentuation.