Metrical phonology

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Metrical phonology is a cover term which refers to several non-linear theories of stress. The non-linear theory of the representation of stress as introduced by Liberman (1975) and Liberman & Prince (1977) is a direct reaction to the linear analysis of stress proposed within the Sound Pattern-framework developed by Chomsky & Halle (1968), in which stress is considered a property of individual segments (i.e. vowels). In metrical phonology, stress is seen as a relational property obtaining between constituents, expressed in metrical trees as a binary relation between sister nodes which are labeled weak or strong. The theory of metrical phonology is further developed by e.g. Hayes (1980), Prince (1983), Kager (1989) and others.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Chomsky, Noam A. & Halle, Morris. 1968. The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Hayes, B. (1980) A Metrical Theory of Stress Rules, PhD diss., MIT.
  • 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