Foot

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Foot is a prosodic constituent/unit introduced by Selkirk (1981). Syllables are combined in a higher level constituent, i.e. the foot.

There are two types of metrical feet: bounded feet (binary) and unbounded feet (n-ary). Bounded feet contain at most two syllables and unbounded ones may contain an indefinite number of syllables. Within feet, one of the syllables is dominant, i.e. the head which can be at the left-edge or the right-edge of the foot. Languages may vary as to whether bounded or unbounded feet are used and may vary w.r.t. direction of dominance. Bounded/unbounded and direction of dominance are considered to be two parameters of stress systems and combine freely. The way feet are represented depends on the framework used (cf. grids or trees). In a tree framework feet are represented as in (i) where heads are labeled Strong and non-heads Weak.

(i)
Unbounded:                     		  Bounded:
       F	       F
      / \             / \
     s   \	     /	 s
    / \   \         /	/ \
   s   \   \	   /   /   s           	  F		  F
  / \   \   \     /   /   / \            / \             / \
 s   w   w ..w	 w...w   w   s		s   w		w   s
left-dom.   	 right-dom.		left-dom.	right-dom.

In a framework with bracketed grids feet could be represented as in (ii).

(ii)
Unbounded:                        Bounded:
 *                        *        *                *
(* * * * * *)  (* * * * * *)      (* *)          (* *)
left-dom.      right-dom.         left-dom.      right-dom.

Link

Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

References

  • Halle, M. & J.-R. Vergnaud 1987. An Essay on Stress, Cambridge, MIT-Press.
  • Hayes, B. 1991. Metrical Stress Theory: principles and case studies, ms. Los Angeles.
  • Hayes, B. 1987. A Revised Parametric Metrical Theory, NELS 17, vol 1, pp. 274-289
  • 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.
  • Liberman, M. and A. Prince 1977. On Stress and Linguistic Rhythm, Linguistic Inquiry 8, pp. 249-336
  • Prince, A. 1983. Relating to the Grid, Linguistic Inquiry 14, pp.19-100
  • Selkirk, E.O. 1984. Phonology and Syntax: The Relation between Sound and Structure, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
  • Selkirk, E.O. 1981. English Compounding and the Theory of Word-structure, in: M. Moortgat, H. Van der Hulst & T. Hoestra (eds.) The Scope of Lexical Rules, Foris, Dordrecht.