The reconstruction of Old Common Basque accentuation: Closing open issues

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In the traditional view, Basque words were stressed on their second syllable at the stage before current dialectal diversification (Mitxelena 1977). This view was questioned in Hualde (1993a), where it was proposed, instead, that, at the last common stage, most Basque words were unaccented, like in modern Western (Bizkaian) varieties. Although a considerable amount of consensus has now been reached regarding the diachronic connections among modern accentual systems, a number of issues have remained open, which I address in this paper. These include the following topics: (1) Whether the tonal contrast of Goizueta (Western Navarrese) is a dialectal development or should instead be reconstructed for Old Common Basque, (2) The exact historical link between aspiration and stress in Northeastern varieties and its consequences for determining the historical connection between the reconstructed Eastern and Western-Central systems, and (3) The origin of marked accent in a protosystem without lexical accent.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology
StateE-pub ahead of print - May 2 2023


  • Basque accent
  • prosodic development
  • diachrony
  • accentogenesis


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