As part of my PhD dissertation I am looking at English non-primary stress in Optimality Theory. I am yet to come across an optimality-theoretic analysis which distinguishes between different degrees of non-primary stress, i.e. secondary versus tertiary. Can anyone point me to an OT analysis (of any language) which formally recognises tertiary stress? Or is this problematic in OT?
Both Eric Bakovic and James Fidelholtz were kind enough to respond to this query; I hope to represent their responses accurately here.
Both replies were keen to point out that tertiary stress in any 'significant' or 'phonological' sense has long since been rejected with the advent of theories like Metrical Phonology. I must apologise for my original question being misleading in its wording in this respect.
Both responses indicated that OT, like earlier metrical theory, should (in principle) have no particular problem in distinguishing between the relative prominence levels of predictably-assigned foot heads so that a level of tertiary stress could be discerned. As yet I am still unaware of any OT analysis which does this.
Many thanks indeed to James Fidelholtz and Eric Bakovic