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Destressing is a type of rule which deletes either a stress or the constituent of which this stress is the head (i.e. a foot). The footless syllable(s) undergo(es) stray adjunction. Destressing rules adjust the representation assigned by stress assignment rules.


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In English a stress on a light syllable (i.e. a foot) assigned by the stress rules is removed by a destressing rule: /bà nána/ /banána/. The application of the destressing rule explains that the vowel of the first syllable can reduce (cf. [bana¡na]), whereas this is not allowed in /bà ndána/ -/-> *[b@ndána] which has a heavy syllable.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Hammond, M. 1984. Constraining Metrical Theory: a modular theory of rythm and destressing, IULC, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Hayes, B. 1981. A metrical theory of stress rules, PhD diss. MIT Cambridge, MA. Revised version distributed by IULC, published by Garland Press, New York, 1985.
  • Kager, R. 1989. A Metrical Theory of Sress and Destressing in English and Dutch, PhD diss. Utrecht University.