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The Stress Patterns of Gothic
William H. Bennett
Vol. 85, No. 3 (May, 1970), pp. 463-472
Published by: Modern Language Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261448
Page Count: 10
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In Gothic, as in Proto-Germanic, primary word stress was fixed on word-initial syllables, including roots, reduplicating syllables, and prefixes; the Gothic negative-pejorative prefix un- appears to have been no exception to the rule. Secondary word stress occurred initially on second immediate constituents of compounds and quasi-compounds; the stress of gudhūs 'temple' and faurhāh 'curtain' was not exceptional. Weak word stress fell medially on vowels between syllables bearing other degrees of stress and on syllable-forming suffixes directly following primary or secondary stress; finally, weak word stress occurred on syllable-forming endings. Evidence for primary phrase stress is very limited. Excepting ga-, proclitics of verb phrases-as distinguished from compound verbs and adverbs plus verbs-bore secondary phrase stress. There appears to be no evidence to show that this stress remained in Gothic feminine compound verbal abstract nouns. The phonologic development of forms like sg. dat. Þamma 'this, that,' sg. dat. ƕamma 'whom, what,' and pl. 3 sind 'they are' reflects a stress alternation that was dependent upon their syntactic context. Go. ga-, -u -u-, and -uh -uh- bore weak phrase stress. The Gothic stress of most Biblical proper names is obscure. Alliterative passages in Gothic shed no light on the problem; rather, it is the evidence for primary word stress that serves to identify the alliteration.
PMLA © 1970 Modern Language Association