An Introduction to Functional Grammar by M. A. K. Halliday

By M. A. K. Halliday

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One rule of epenthesis, Epenthesis1, applies before the assignment of initial stress, operating essentially in the context of triconsonantal clusters which cannot be incorporated into well-formed syllables. An independent rule of vowel insertion, Epenthesis2, which is also motivated in contexts of unsyllabified consonants, must follow stress assignment. This is illustrated for two crucial forms in the following derivation. 6. Secondary stress is assigned to the third syllable from the beginning of the word, suggesting that stress obeys a binary pattern.

Further, Foot Binarity is enforced at the level of the syllable, which together with high-ranking RhType = T, yields a syllabic trochee. Further, the alignment constraint, Align-L(F, PrWd), ensures left-toright foot construction; iterative footing is accounted for by ranking the syllableto-foot parsing constraint, Parse-Syl, above Align-L, which asserts that all prosodic feet coincide with the left edge (following McCarthy and Prince 1993a). In total, RhType = T and Foot Binarity gives the syllabic trochee, and the alignment constraint, interacting with the syllable parsing constraint, conspire to yield left-to-right iterative foot construction.

This leaves the two alternatives, (22a) and (22c), which tie on Head-Dep because both forms posit a syllabic head over a nonlexical vowel. The decision therefore falls to the low-ranking Align-L, which chooses in favor of (22c) because it is perfect with respect to left-edge alignment. Before moving on, it’s worth considering the role of Head-Dep in the placement of secondary stress, and how the rankings employed thus far extend to this pattern. 8 As noted by Foley (p. 77), this pattern of secondary stress is disrupted precisely when the third syllable is derived by epenthesis.

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