Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Verbal Stress Assignment in Brazilian Portuguese and the Prosodic Interpretation of Segmental Sequences

Maria Cantoni, Tha´s Cristˇfaro Silva1

Faculty of Letters, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

This paper offers a contribution towards the prosodic interpretation of segmental sequences. Focus will be given to consonantal sequences where epenthesis may optionally occur in Brazilian Portuguese, as in o[bs]truir or o[bis]truir "to obstruct". We will show that some consonantal sequences have distinct representations from others, being that the difference in representation has an impact on innovative stress pattern attested in verbal forms. Considering the underlined epenthetic vowels in [a'dapitU] and [ada'pitU] adapto "(I) adapt" the former example is the traditional form and the later is the innovative form. We will show that sequences of stops - as [pt] for example - represent a sequence of consonantal positions, whereas [ks] sequences represent a single consonantal position associated to two segments. This later case corresponds to a complex consonant and behaves like other complex consonants in the language, such as [kw, gw]. An experiment was run in order to investigate the innovative stress pattern in verbal forms in BP. We found that whereas most verbal forms with a sequence of stops display the innovative stress pattern all analyzed verbal forms with a [ks] sequence do not present the innovative stress pattern. We account for this distinct behavior regarding stress by offering support towards the different representation of segmental sequences. Our results contribute towards a better understanding of stress assignment in Brazilian Portuguese, we provide additional information about complex consonants and we also offer support to the claim that epenthetic vowels are present in lexical representations.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cantoni, Maria / Silva1, Tha´s Cristˇfaro (2008): "Verbal stress assignment in brazilian portuguese and the prosodic interpretation of segmental sequences", In SP-2008, 587-590.