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  • Development in prosodic systems ed. by Paula Fikkert, Haike Jacobs
  • Curt Rice
Development in prosodic systems. Ed. by Paula Fikkert and Haike Jacobs. (Studies in generative grammar 58.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2003. Pp. 463. ISBN 3110166844. $114.40 (Hb).

The thirteen papers in this volume will be of great interest to students of metrical structure; its papers cover the relationship between tone, accent, and quantity, as well as metrics and the diachrony of prosodic systems. Many of the papers can genuinely be described as having a diachronic focus, while others provide a crucial prerequisite to diachronic work, namely synchronic investigations of earlier stages of languages.

Linda Heijmans (‘The relationship between tone and vowel length in two neighboring Dutch Limburgian dialects’, 7–46) extends our understanding of pitch accent in the Limburgian dialects—as studied by her and several of her compatriots in recent years—by distinguishing the truly tonal systems from dialects on the border of this region that use vowel length distinctions where its neighbors use tone. Ilse Lehiste (‘Prosodic change in progress: From quantity language to accent language’, 47–66) extends her decades-long study of Estonian prosody, highlighting in this paper a sound change in progress. In particular, Lehiste claims that the prosody of Estonian is becoming less like Finnish and more like Serbo-Croatian, in the sense that her title suggests. Kyung-Keun Kwon’s analysis of Korean (‘Prosodic change from tone to vowel length in Korean’, 67–90) tracks a development in the opposite direction to that of Estonian, namely the change in Korean from a tonal language to one in which vowel length is distinctive. Tomas Riad (‘Diachrony of the Scandinavian accent typology’, 91–144) offers a tour de force on Scandinavian accentology, touching on topics as diverse as tonogenesis and the relationship between pitch accent and stød, as he pursues a typology of tonal grammars.

The next three papers bring evidence from metrical poetry to bear on the diachrony of stress systems. Thomas Cable (‘Kaluza’s law and the progress of Old English metrics’, 145–58) illustrates that evidence from metrics can be enlightening regarding vowel quantity and syllable weight in Old English. Michael Redford’s article (‘Middle English stress doubles: New evidence from Chaucer’s meter’, 159–96) demonstrates how the interaction of word and phrasal stress can shed light on change in stress patterns in English.

Most generative analyses of iambic pentameter in [End Page 522] English suggest that strong positions can contain anything while the weak positions are restricted. Wim Zonneveld (‘Constraining S and satisfying fit’, 197–248) presents an example of iambic Dutch poetry from the thirteenth century and argues that it shows restrictions on both strong and weak positions.

José Ignacio Hualde (‘From phrase-final to post-initial accent in western Basque’, 249–82) investigates how a prosodic system can change under language contact, whereby Basque has moved away from its historical pitch-accent system. Astrid Kraehenmann (‘Swiss German vowel length through time’, 283–314) gives an impressive presentation of the diachrony of vowel length in two Swiss dialects, comparing them with German and Dutch.

In the first of three papers on stress assignment, Paula Fikkert (‘The prosodic structure of prefixed words in the history of West Germanic’, 315–48) offers an insightful analysis of the complicated behavior of prefixes in the prosody of nouns and verbs through a discussion of different ways in which words are borrowed into English and Dutch. The issue of borrowing and stress assignment continues into Chris McCully’s paper (‘Left-hand word-stress in the history of English’, 349–94) in which a number of problems with theoretical treatments of English stress assignment are reviewed in light of the development of English stress patterns diachronically. Haike Jacobs (‘Why preantepenultimate stress in Latin requires an OT-account’, 395–418) looks at a very specific pattern in Latin stress assignment, namely words of four syllables in which the first three are light—which have initial stress in Early Classical Latin—and compares...


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