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Jang, Hayeun. 2020. Palatals contribute to syllable weight: Evidence from Spanish stress assignment. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 26.2. 321-340.


This paper investigates the issue whether the stress system of Spanish is weight-sensitive by examining the distinctive stress patterns of trisyllabic words with palatal onsets in word-final syllables. Although Spanish trisyllabic words with open penultimate and final syllables can have the primary stress in any syllable, when an onset in a word-final syllable is a palatal consonant, antepenultimate stress is not allowed and penultimate stress occurs. By considering the complex articulatory patterns of palatals and the lengthening of pre-palatal vowels in Spanish, I propose that a palatal onset in the final syllable is attached to an independent moraic node of the penultimate syllable and a syllabic node of the final syllable at the same time. In the framework of Articulatory Phonology, I present how palatal onsets in a word-final syllable can be doubly-linked to two syllables by proposing that a tongue body gesture for palatals forms two types of gestural organizations with adjacent vocalic gestures. The coarticulatory aggressiveness of the tongue body gesture for palatals can account for the lengthening of the overlapping vocalic gesture. Considering the proposed syllabic and gestural structures and final lengthening in Spanish, this paper concludes that Spanish stress assignment is weight-sensitive.


Keywords: stress assignment, Spanish, palatal consonant, gestural organization

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