• Size Restrictors and Prosodic Structure in the Acquisition of Stress

      Curtin, Suzanne; University of Southern California (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2000)
      This paper examines the stages of development in the acquisition of Dutch main stress by children. In the early stages of prosodic development, there are strong restrictions on word size. These restrictions can be explained by the high ranking of alignment constraints (McCarthy & Prince 1993) over faithfulness (McCarthy & Prince 1995). Moreover, the truncation and early prominence patterns are due to adherence to Strict Layering (Selkirk 1984) which emerges from the constraint ranking. The subsequent violation of Strict Layering (Weak Layering, Ito & Mester 1992) at later stages arises from constraint re-ranking. This analysis provides a unified account of child language and adult grammar. The development of the child's grammar moves from unmarked to marked structure (Demuth 1997) building on the units of the Prosodic Hierarchy (Selkirk 1980). Working within the Optimality Framework (Prince & Smolensky 1993), using well-attested constraints, the relationships between stages of acquisition are explained through constraint re-ranking. The paper is organized as follows. First I provide a general overview of the stages of stress acquisition. I then discuss on each stage individually focussing first on the size restrictions found in the early stages of development before turning to stages 3 and 4.