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A Phonological and Phonetic Study of Word‐Level Stress in Chickasaw

Matthew Gordon
International Journal of American Linguistics
Vol. 70, No. 1 (January 2004), pp. 1-32
DOI: 10.1086/422264
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/422264
Page Count: 32
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A Phonological and Phonetic Study of Word‐Level Stress in Chickasaw
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Abstract

This paper presents results of a phonological and phonetic study of stress in Chickasaw, a Muskogean language spoken in south central Oklahoma. Three degrees of stress are differentiated acoustically, with primary stressed vowels having the highest f 0 and greatest duration and intensity, unstressed vowels having the lowest f 0 and shortest duration and intensity, and secondary stressed vowels displaying intermediate f 0, duration, and intensity values. Vowel quality differences and segmental lenition processes also are diagnostic for stress. The location of stress is phonologically predictable, falling on word‐final syllables, heavy (CVC and CVV) syllables, and on the second in a sequence of light (CV) syllables. Short vowels in nonfinal open syllables are made heavy through a process of rhythmic vowel lengthening. Primary stress is sensitive to a further weight distinction, which treats CVV as heavier than both CV and CVC. In words lacking a CVV syllable, stress falls on the final syllable.

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