Principles of English Stress

Luigi Burzio’s Principles of English Stress challenges many of the assumptions that have underpinned the generative description of English stress and more generally ‘standard’ metrical theory. Central to Burzio’s analysis is a novel typology of metrical constituents that includes ternary feet and excludes monosyllabic feet. The analysis is essentially nonderivational in character: principles of well-formedness check for the presence of stress and weight in the output. The principles themselves are organized into a hierarchy consisting of a hardcore-controlling foot form that in cases of conflict may override principles of metrical consistency and alignment of edges. The interplay among these competing principles accounts for the cyclic effects of the standard theory. A special role is accorded phonetically null syllables that analyse hidden metrical structure to preserve a simple foot inventory and sharply curtail the standard theory’s extrametricality.

• Burzio one of world’s leading theoretical linguists • His theory is controversial - will attract a great deal of attention • Most detailed account ever of workings of English stress


1. General introduction; Part I. The Stress of Undesired Items: 2. Null vowels and extrametricality; 3. The stress pattern of English; 4. Stress without destressing and vowel reduction; 5. Stress and vowel length; Part II: Stress and Word Formation: 6. Weak preservation; 7. The range of stress ‘placing’ suffixes; 8. Strong preservation; 9. The range of neutral suffixes; 10. Extensions and refinements.


‘The ideas explored in the book are highly original, the analysis is remarkably comprehensive, the arguments are lucidly presented and will surely prompt a serious reconsideration of many central tenets of metrical stress theory. ’ Michael Kenstowicz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology