[tied] Re: Initial stress

From: tgpedersen
Message: 14738
Date: 2002-08-29

> > Yup, tough customers, those Celts. BTW, where did the pattern
> from, and what was the pattern of stress before?
> It was originally (perhaps until about 1200) free, as in Russian
(and as in the conservative northern dialects of Kashubian), then
initial as still in Czech (and as in southern Kashubian plus some
dialects of southern Poland). The evolution from initial to penult
stress was along a rather familiar path: initial stress is often
accompanied by a rhythmically alternating pattern of secondary
stresses like this: Swsw, Swwsw, Swswsw (where s = strong, w = weak,
S = primary), and since one of the functions of stress is to mark
edges of words or phrases (e.g. clitic groups), the last secondary
stress tends to be stronger than others. Gradually, it came to be
perceived as primary in Polish, so that the above patterns became
swSw, swwSw, swswSw (this is what we have in standard Modern Polish).
No shift was needed in disyllabic words, of course, and in
trisyllabic ones the conflict between Sww and wSw was resolved in
favour of the latter.
> Piotr

Of course one must conclude from the fact that Russian has free
accent that Proto-Slavic had it too and that therefore Polish at some
time in its history must have shifted to initial stress. But is there
evidence that this development took place when Polish was "in place"
(you've probably guessed what I'm fishing for: a contiguous initial-
stress zone from Pannonia to Scandinavia, based on some substrate
language)? As for the staying power of initial (and other simple-rule
based) stress: Danish 1930's slang: béverding "inn, joint",
supposedly from the pronunciation of Danish bev´ærtning by Icelandic
students studying in Copenhagen. Free-stress languages are difficult
to learn for foreigners, I wonder what it sounds like when eg. a Finn
speaks Russian.

BTW the tendency to shift stress from initial to the syllable of
secondary stress is endemic is the Danish Army, which puzzled me when
I met it first time; eg efterrétninger "(military) intelligence",
efterrétningstjeneste "intelligence service" and nowhere else:
Éfterretninger for søfarende "Informations for sea-farers" (Radio
news for maritime traffic). The command language of the Army (but
never the Navy) was German until mid 18th century.