Spanish verb and non-verb stress

Authored by: Iggy Roca

The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Phonology

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415785693
eBook ISBN: 9781315228112
Adobe ISBN:


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The location of word stress is often not uniform both in Spanish and in other languages. In nouns and the like, Spanish stress invariably occurs within the confines of the “stem”, and the possible additional “desinence” is ignored: cf. sˈában]a ‘bed sheet’, savˈan]a ‘savannah’, with “]” separating the stem from the -a desinence, itself systematically stressless: cf. *saban á , with the -a desinence illegitimately (“*”) stressed. In verbs, stress in turn is usually borne by certain given morphemes, e.g. the theme vowel in Past tenses (e.g. cant-á-ba-mos ‘we used to sing’) or the TAM morpheme in future-oriented ones (cant-a-rˈe-mos). In impersonal forms (the Infinitive, Gerund, and Past Participle), stress also falls on the theme vowel (e.g. cant-ˈa-r, cant-ˈa-ndo, cant-ˈa-do), diphthongised in the 2nd and 3rd conjugations (corr-ie-ndo ‘running’, par-ie-ndo ‘giving birth’) and with the Past Participle vowel raising to i (corr-i-do), all of this in contrast with the Infinitive corr-e-r. The syllabification of vowel–high vowel and high vowel–vowel clusters into either one or two syllables is accounted for in detail in section 6.

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