The concept of the 'onset', i.e. the consonant(s) before the vowel of a
syllable, is critical within phonology. While phonologists have examined
the segmental behaviour of onsets, their prosodic status has instead been
largely overlooked. In fact, most previous accounts have stipulated that
onsets are insignificant when it comes to the 'heaviness' of syllables.
In this book Nina Topintzi presents a new theory of onsets, arguing for
their fundamental role in the structure of language both in the underlying
and surface representation, unlike previous assumptions. To capture the
weight behaviour of onsets, a novel account is proposed that relates their
interaction with voicing, tone and stress. Using numerous case-studies and
data from a variety of languages and phenomena (including stress,
compensatory lengthening, gemination and word minimality), the book
introduces a model that reflects the true behaviour of onsets,
demonstrating profound implications for syllable and weight theories.