Formalising stress in Senćoten




Leonard, Janet

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The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to our understanding of how stress is assigned in SENCOTEN (a dialect of North Straits Salish). The stress system of the Salish languages has been traditionally thought of as being highly morpho-lexical. Montler (1986: 23) states that in SENCOTEN, roots and affixes are lexically specified for their stress properties. He claims that these roots and affixes are in a hierarchical relationship and compete with each other for stress assignment. However, in this thesis, I show that there is much less morpho-lexical stress in SENCOTEN than previously thought. The stress pattern of a high number of polymorphemic words, namely those that contain lexical suffixes, can be accounted for without resorting to a morphological hierarchy of stress. Instead, using an Optimality Theory analysis inspired by the work of Dyck (2004) and Kiyota (2003), I show that it is the weight distinction between full vowels and schwa that determines where stress will be assigned. In addition, I am able to show that metrical feet are grouped into trochees and that these trochaic feet are aligned to the right edge of the word.



North Straits Salish language