On the historical origin of basque accentuation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From a diachronic point of view, the study of Basque accentuation presents the problem of accounting for the very different accentual systems that are found nowadays within the Basque-speaking territory. Whereas in a large central area there is no contrastive word accent, systems with phonologically distinctive accentuation are found both in eastern and western regions. The accentual systems of some western varieties are especially complex and are shown to rely on an opposition between accented or preaccenting and unaccented morphemes. In this paper, it is argued that all present-day accentual systems can be derived from an earlier common stage lacking contrastive accentuation and, in particular, that the western system arose as a result of a rule of compound accentuation; contrastive accent being reinforced by the adoption of large numbers of Latin and Romance loanwords with their original accentual pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-50
Number of pages38
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 18 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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