Stress at the interface: Phases, accents and dominance


Revithiadou, Anthi, and Vassilios Spyropoulos. 2016. Stress at the interface: Phases, accents and dominance. Linguistic Analysis 41, no. 1-2: 1-71.


This article explores patterns of accentuation that are profoundly af- fected by the morphosyntactic structure and, especially, by the way the constituents of a word are assembled and concomitantly processed by the PF component. We first review well-known cases of stress-affecting affixation in English from various theoretical perspectives in order to discover key aspects of the architectural and/or lexical item-specific conditions that instigate accentual dominance, that is, the attraction of stress by certain morphological constituents. We propose a path of analysis along the lines of Embick’s (2014) phase-based approach to the morphosyntax/phonology interface, according to which the ability of the exponent of a morpheme to trigger a cyclic phonological rule (phonological cyclicity) is dissociated from the phase status of the morpheme (phase cyclicity) and becomes an unpredictable property of its exponent. Based on an examination of the more intricate pat- terns of accentual dominance exhibited by a group of lexical stress systems—namely Greek, Vedic Sanskrit and Yakima Sahaptin—we propose that dominance emanates from both the architectural properties of the Grammar and the idiosyncratic lexical properties of the exponents of the morphosyntactic constituents, but not in a totally arbitrary way as predicted by Embick’s approach. Notably, our study reveals that a set of significant, so far unnoticed, implicational relations between phasehood and phonological cyclicity apply: No system has dominant exponents of non-phase heads without having dominant exponents of phase heads; and, moreover, no system has dominant accentless exponents without having dominant accented ones.