LINGUIST List 13.2521

Thu Oct 3 2002

Diss: Phonology: Wagner "Vorhersage..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. pwa, Phonology: Wagner "Vorhersage und Wahrnehmung..."

Message 1: Phonology: Wagner "Vorhersage und Wahrnehmung..."

Date: Thu, 03 Oct 2002 07:16:19 +0000
From: pwa <>
Subject: Phonology: Wagner "Vorhersage und Wahrnehmung..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Bonn
Program: Communication Research and Phonetics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Petra Susanne Wagner 

Dissertation Title: 
Vorhersage und Wahrnehmung deutscher Betonungsmuster

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Phonology, Phonetics, Computational Linguistics
Subject Language: German, Standard

Dissertation Director 1: Wolfgang Hess
Dissertation Director 2: Wilfried Lenders

Dissertation Abstract: 

Motivation for this thesis was the insight that phonological theories
tend to be built upon questionable, often intuitively gained
data. Besides, their predictive power is often tested on fragments of
the language in question. To overcome this deficit of phonological
theory-building, an evaluation method was developed and applied that
relies on a formal representation and implementation of the rules and
furthermore tests its predictions on large, objectively gathered data

The central insights of the thesis are the following ones:

- syntactic phrasing only plays a minor role in German stress
assignment on utterance level
- a fine-grained word class analysis helps to predict prominence on
utterance level
- Frequency of occurrence of a specific word is no direct indicator of
prominence in German
- Deaccentuation and stress shift, even in word-internal stress clash
environments, only plays a marginal role in German
- Long sequences of unstressed syllables are prevented
- Syllable weight plays a major role in word-level stress placement:
if the final syllable is significantly heavier than the penultimate
one, stress falls onto the last syllable. Syllable weight hierarchy
needed to be extended in order to explain all phenomena.
- If the final syllable of a word is light, stress usually falls on
the stressable syllable closed the the right edge of the word.
- Syllable weight influence is less strong in stress assignment to
proper names in German.

All results were formalised in order to enable their integration into
speech technological applications and frameworks of computational
linguistics. Finally, the results were integrated in a formalism based
on optimality theoretic assumptions.
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