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Structural Factors Affecting the Assignment of Word Stress in German

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2012

Timo B. Röttger*
University of Cologne
Ulrike Domahs*
University of Marburg
Marion Grande*
RWTH Aachen University Hospital
Frank Domahs*
University of Marburg/RWTH Aachen University Hospital
Timo B. Röttger, Herbert-Levin-Str. 6, D-50931 Köln, Germany, []
Ulrike Domahs, Wilhelm-Röpke-Str. 6a, D-35032 Marburg, Germany, []
Marion Grande, Pauwelsstraße 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany,
Frank Domahs, Pauwelsstraße 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany, []


This paper aims to shed light on regularities underlying German stress assignment. The results of a pseudoword production task suggest that rhyme complexity of the final syllable is a strong predictor of main stress position in German. We also found that antepenult rhyme complexity and orthographic rhyme structure have significant effect on stress assignment. In general, the effects seem to be probabilistic rather than categorical. Our results suggest that phonological theories of German word stress need to allow for multiple probabilistic factors, including syllabic structure of all stressable syllables and orthographic coding.*

Copyright © Society for Germanic Linguistics 2012

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