Introduction to Metrical Theory

Lecturer(s):Birgit Alber (University of Verona)
Type:Introductory Course
Section:Logic and Language
Time: 11.00-12.30 (Slot 2)
Room:EM 3.06


Metrical stress theory as developed throughout the last 30 years in
generative phonology investigates the principles that govern the patterns
of rhythmical (word) stress, their universal aspects and their
crosslinguistic variation. The first half of the course will concentrate
on the theoretical and empirical results achieved so far in metrical
theory, from the interpretation of stress as relative prominence of one
syllable with respect to another (Liberman & Prince 1977) to the
parameters determining a metrical system (foot-type, main stress
placement, directionality, quantity-sensitivity etc.; cf. Hayes 1995).
second half of the course will consider recent formal approaches to the
generation of stress patterns in the framework of Optimality Theory
(Prince & Smolensky 1993). Particular attention will be dedicated to
the types of constraints determining the metrical systems of the
world's languages, to their interaction, and to the factorial
typologies of violable constr
 aints which generate attested and exclude unattested patterns.

The final version of the handout for the course is now available for
print-out at:

© ESSLLI 2005 Organising Committee 2005-08-02