S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 39 Number 1/4 (2003)
Syllable Weight: Phonetic Duration and Phonemic Contrast
- Ahn, Mee-Jin
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.39 No.2, pp. 355-381
- This paper addresses two questions: why, in quantity-sensitive systems, do CVV and CVC syllables constitute better stress targets than CV syllables, and why does the weight of CVC syllables vary? I argue that CVV syllables are optimal stress targets because their long vowel duration allows for the best expression of the phonetic correlates of stress. Although CVC syllables appear to attract stress in some languages, this attraction should be understood as a consequence of stress repulsion from CV syllables. The stress attraction of CVC syllables occurs only where CV syllabies are subject to positional vowel lengthening and stress-induced lengthenfng. In this position, CV syllables repel stress to preserve the phonemic contrast of vowel length. CVC syllables are protected from extreme vowel lengthening in the same positions due to closed syllable shortening. I present experimental evidence from Jordanian Arabic where only CVV and CVC syllables attract stress in penultimate position, to support my claim that \'owel lengthening effects in penultimate CV syllables are extreme. As' a result, CV syllables avoid stress to maintain their phonemic vowel length and CVC and CVV syllables receive stress in the target position. I conclude that CVC syllables are not inherent stress attractors at all.