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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2007, Vol. 38, No. 2, Pages 239-285
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2007.38.2.239)
© 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Issues in Banawá Prosody: Onset Sensitivity, Minimal Words, and Syllable Integrity
Article PDF (1.06 MB)

Three aspects of Banawá prosody (Buller, Buller, and Everett 1993, Everett 1996a,b) have been argued to present significant difficulties for metrical stress theory. First, Banawá stress is sensitive to the presence or absence of syllable onsets; second, Banawá tolerates monomoraic feet yet requires a bimoraic minimal word; and, third, it seems to employ mora-based footing that is free to ignore syllable boundaries. In this article, I argue that these issues are not nearly as problematic as they might first appear. The article demonstrates that Banawá's onset sensitivity can be produced by a constraint aligning the head syllables of feet with onsets, that its minimal word restriction can be produced with Nonfinality constraints, and that it can maintain syllable integrity simply by giving clash and lapse avoidance priority over other footing considerations.