The prosodic system of the basque dialect of getxo: A metrical analysis

Jose Ignacio Hualde, Xabier Bilbao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, the accentual system of the western Basque dialect spoken in Getxo is studied in detail. In this system, there is a lexical opposition between accented and preaccenting morphemes, on the one hand, and unaccented morphemes, on the other. Roots may be accented on some nonfinal syllables or unaccented. Suffixes may be preaccenting or unaccented. Stress is assigned both at the word and at the phrase levels. In words containing accented or preaccenting morphemes, the first such morpheme determines the location of the stressed syllable. A second rule assigns stress phrase-finally, which is the only stress that phrases containing only unaccented morphemes receive on the surface. Arguments are given for representing lexical (pre) accentuation by means of preassigned metrical brackets (Halle 1990; Halle and Kenstowicz 1991), which, for the most part, coincide with morphological boundaries. Some properties of the system, such as the absence of lexical morpheme-final accent, follow directly from this mode of representation. A rule that applies in compounds assigning prominence to the last syllable of the first member also finds an explanation when accents are seen as sensitive to morphological boundaries. Some additional complications in the system are introduced by the existence of cases of prepreaccentuation, where stress surfaces two syllables to the left of some triggering morphemes, as well as of deaccenting suffixes, which remove an accent from a morpheme to their left.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-86
Number of pages28
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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