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Level Stress in North Germanic

  • Gjert Kristoffersen (a1)

Abstract

This article is an investigation of the acoustic properties of the so-called level stress prosody still found in some varieties of North Germanic. Level stress occurs in disyllabic words where a light root syllable has been preserved from Old North Germanic, and is described as having stress more or less evenly distributed across the two syllables. It is argued that level stress is the result of a perceptual ambiguity caused by the delayed synchronization of the accent 2 melody in level stress words, due to the shorter duration of the light root syllable. Due to this delay, both syllables may be interpreted as independent tonal and thereby stressed accent 1 domains, competing with the “normal” interpretation of the two syllables as an accent 2 domain with initial stress.*

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Corresponding author

Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic Studies, PO Box 7805, NO 5020 Bergen, Norway, [Gjert.Kristoffersen@lle.uib.no]

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