LINGUIST List 31.1422

Tue Apr 21 2020

Books: Proto-Indo-European Word Stress: Voyles, Barrack

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 15-Apr-2020
From: Ulrich Lueders <>
Subject: Proto-Indo-European Word Stress: Voyles, Barrack
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Title: Proto-Indo-European Word Stress
Subtitle: Its Lithuanian Reflex
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 53
Published: 2020
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Book URL:

Author: Joseph Voyles
Author: Charles Barrack
Electronic: ISBN: 9783862901470 Pages: 246 Price: Europe EURO 156.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9783862900664 Pages: 246 Price: Europe EURO 156.00

The development of Lithuanian word stress has long lent itself to misinterpretation. Many have considered it as somehow directly reflective of that of Proto-Indo-European (PIE).

The present study represents a dissent from this view. The reconstruction of PIE word stress is based on the evidence of Classical Sanskrit and Ancient Greek. An early morphologically conditioned rule is therefore posited which is then completely replaced (as in Sanskrit) or partially replaced (as in Greek) by some sort of phonologically conditioned rule.

This model is then applied to the Lithuanian data: in Lithuanian there is a partial retention of the original PIE morphologically conditioned rule with the addition of a phonologically conditioned rule which moves the stress to the left. But the Lithuanian rule moves the stress only one mora to the left (where 1 mora = a short vowel and 2 morae = a long vowel or diphthong). This change in its interaction with the other explicitly formulated changes from PIE into Lithuanian suffices to account for the Lithuanian stress patterns-namely the grave accent over a short stressed vowel, the acute accent over a long vowel or diphthong stressed on its first mora and finally the tilde (or circumflex) accent over a long vowel or diphthong stressed on its second mora.

Thus it has been demonstrated that the Lithuanian word-stress rule can be derived from that of PIE by reasonable and attested types of change. It should also be emphasized that the Lithuanian rule has undergone massive change from that of PIE and is therefore only faintly reflective of it.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Lithuanian (lit)
Language Family(ies): Indo-European

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 21-Apr-2020