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Kathryn Pruitt: "Culminativity in Harmonic Serialism"

January 31, 2014 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm  |  Stevenson Fireside Lounge


Kathryn PruittAbstract: This talk considers the typology of word-headedness in languages with iterative stress and discusses a traditional classification of such systems—top-down vs. bottom-up (Hayes 1995)—in the context of Harmonic Serialism (McCarthy 2010). In some languages the primary stress is autonomous, having properties that are different from those of its secondary stresses, which has been used to argue against bottom-up metrification in serial theories (van der Hulst 1984, 1997, 2009, Bailey 1995). Other languages, however, show a primary stress which is clearly parasitic on secondary stresses, which follows straightforwardly from a bottom-up theory but is incompatible with a top-down one (Hayes 1995). To account for both autonomous and parasitic culminativity in Harmonic Serialism, this talk outlines the following proposals: (1) primary stress assignment can and must happen simultaneously with foot-building, in a basically top-down fashion, and (2) the primary stress must be allowed to move to another foot in the course of a derivation. In other words, the conclusion will be that attested patterns of primary stress assignment provide evidence for limited parallelism in stress, even when general metrification, and the grammar itself, is otherwise serial. Allowing limited parallelism without giving up serialism altogether is also defended, as the predicted typology of culminativity in a serial theory with limited parallelism is shown to be superior to that of theory with unrestricted parallelism.


Bailey, Todd Mark (1995). Non-metrical constraints on stress. Doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota.

Hayes, Bruce (1995). Metrical stress theory: principles and case studies. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

van der Hulst, Harry (1984). Syllable structure and stress in Dutch. Foris, Dordrecht.

van der Hulst, Harry (1997). Primary accent is non-metrical. Revista di Linguistica 9: 99–127.

van der Hulst, Harry (2009). Brackets and grid marks, or theories of primary accent and rhythm. In Eric Raimy and Charles E. Cairns (eds.), Contemporary Views on Architecture and Representations in Phonological Theory, pp. 225–245. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

McCarthy, John J. (2010). An introduction to Harmonic Serialism. Language and Linguistics Compass 4(10): 1010–1018.
Kathryn Pruitt is at Assistant Professor of English at Arizona State University.



January 31, 2014
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Humanites 1 University of California, Santa Cruz Cowell College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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Linguistics Department
(831) 459-2386
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