Extrametricality Revisited

Rasheed S. Al-Jarrah


This research paper advances the claim that extrametricality (Liberman & Prince 1977, McCarthy 1979b, Hayes 1982, 1995, Hammond 1999, Kiparsky 2003, Watson 2007, among others) can be constrained to syllable extrametricality, eliminating consonant, mora, and (presumably) foot extrametricality. This paper presents a basic analysis of parse (LICENSE-SEG) and antiparse (NONFINAL-SEG) constraints for dealing with stress placement (or lack thereof) on final syllables.  The main thrust of the argument is twofold: (1) both parse and antiparse constraints are parameterized relative to the weight of the constituent to which they apply, and (2) the constraints that require syllables to be incorporated into higher level prosodic structure (LICENSE-SEG) conflict with constraints that require final syllable to remain stray (NONFINAL-SEG). The antiparse constraint NONFINAL-SEG is factored out into NONFINAL(C), NONFINAL(V), NONFINAL(s), NONFINAL(F), and NONFINAL(PR). And, in order for extrametricality to be constrained just to syllable extrametricality, we advance the claim that NONFINAL(s), in particular, is mora-sensitive, and can be further parameterized into a family of subconstraints (NONFINAL-μ, NONFINAL-μμ, NONFINAL-μμμ) differing in the weight of the syllable to which they apply. Similarly, by adopting the Strict Layering requirement (for details see Nespor and Vogel 1986: 7), the parse constraint LICENSE-SEG is decomposed into LICENSE(C), LICENSE(V), LICENSE(s), LICENSE(F), and LICENSE(PR); in the meantime, LICENSE(s) is decomposed into LICENSE-μ, LICENSE-μμ, and LICENSE-μμμ. In principle, the interaction of the parameterized set of the parse constraint LICENSE-SEG with the parameterized set of the antiparse constraint NONFINAL(s), we argue, yields the correct stress patterns for all final syllables. A typological prediction of breaking NONFINALITY into a family of mora sensitive constraints avoids the need for parameterized extrametricality below the level of the foot. An explicit prediction is that mora extrametricality should not occur, i.e. no language should treat, for example, CVCC and CVV as heavy but treat CVC and CV as light, as we believe there are no compelling cases of mora extrametricality (for illuminating discussions, see Hayes 1995, Rosenthall & van der Hulst 1999).

Key words: Arabic; word stress, optimality theory, extrametricality; nonfinality.

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