Judith Meinschäfer (Berlin): Parametric variation in Romance word prosody. An optimality-theoretic analysis

The present talk addresses the question how word stress is assigned in Romance languages like Latin, Italian, and Spanish, which present characteristic differences in word prosodic patterns. These patterns can nevertheless be traced back to a common Romance core, from which they have evolved by means of small, stepwise changes in stress parameters. The analysis put forward in this talk is based on Hayes' Metrical Stress Theory, enriched by Kiparsky's concept of catalexis, which will be implemented in an optimality-theoretic formalism.
French, in contrast, differs in more than one respect from the languages mentioned above. It will be shown how the unexpected French pattern can be derived from the hypothetical Romance core, by comparing French to another Romance variety, that is, Northern Occitan (Lemosin), which can be viewed as a "bridge" language between French and other Romance languages.