This book is written in the context of metrical theory. The goal is to aim for a restrictive theory of stress systems in natural languages. In bounded stress systems the distance between stressed syllables is kept to a maximum. Usually, the notion of bounded stress is equated with binary alternation or binarity. In binary stress systems the rhythmic distance between two stressed syllables is at most one stressless syllable, while in ternary systems the maximum distance is at most two stressless syllables.
This book aims to contribute to metrical theory by offering a uniﬁed account of binary and ternary stress systems. The analysis makes use of the theoretical framework ‘Optimality Theory’, in which candidate output forms are evaluated by universal constraints, which are ranked in a language speciﬁc hierarchy. It is shown that reranking of constraints, which are independently motivated to account for binary stress systems, also results in ternary stress systems.
Arguments come from the analyses of the stress systems of Sentani and Finnish. Both languages have a basically binary stress system, in which ternary patterns appear frequently. The analysis of Sentani shows that the anti-lapse constraint, which plays an important role in the analysis of ternary stress systems, and which requires the avoidance of long sequences of unstressed syllables, must be interpreted as a rhythmic constraint, rather than as a parsing constraint. The analysis of Finnish gives independent evidence for this anti-lapse constraint, where it plays a crucial role in creating binary stress patterns.
First and foremost, this book addresses topics in metrical phonology and therefore it is of interest to metrical phonologists. Moreover, the analysis of Finnish addresses topics such as variation, paradigmatic analogy and prosodic morphology which makes this bok also of interest to phonologists in general, and especially those who are interested in prosodic morphology.