The distribution of trimoraic syllables in German and English as evidence for the phonological word


  • Tracy A. Hall



In the present article I discuss the distribution of trimoraic syllables in German and English. The reason I have chosen to analyze these two languages together is that the data in both languages are strikingly similar. However, although the basic generalization in (1) holds for both German and English, we will see below that trimoraic syllabIes do not have an identical distribution in both languages. In the present study I make the following theoretical claims. First, I argue that the three environments in (1) have a property in common: they all describe the right edge of a phonological word (or prosodic word; henceforth pword). From a formal point of view, I argue that a constraint I dub the THIRD MORA RESTRICTION (henceforth TMR), which ensures that trimoraic syllables surface at the end of a pword, is active in German and English. According to my proposal trimoraic syllables cannot occur morpheme-internally because monomorphemic grammatical words like garden are parsed as single pwords. Second, I argue that the TMR refers crucially to moraic structure. In particular, underlined strings like the ones in (1) will be shown to be trimoraic; neither skeletal positions nor the subsyllabic constituent rhyme are necessary. Third, the TMR will be shown to be violated in certain (predictable) pword-internal cases, as in Monde and chamber; I account for such facts in an OptimalityTheoretic analysis (henceforth OT; Prince & Smolensky 1993) by ranking various markedness constraints among themselves or by ranking them ahead of the TMR. Fourth, I hold that the TMR describes a concrete level of grammar, which I refer to below as the 'surface' representation. In this respect, my treatment differs significantly from the one proposed for English by Borowsky (1986, 1989), in which the English facts are captured in a Lexical Phonology model by ordering the relevant constraint at level 1 in the lexicon.






Hall, Tracy A. 2000. „The Distribution of Trimoraic Syllables in German and English As Evidence for the Phonological Word“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 19 (Januar):41-90.