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Academic Paper

Title: Towards an exemplar-based model of stress in English noun–noun compounds
Author: Sabine Arndt-Lappe
Institution: Universität Siegen
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: It is well known that stress assignment in English noun–noun compounds is non-uniform (compare e.g. left-prominent ópera glasses and right-prominent steel brídge), and recent corpus-based studies (e.g. Plag et al. , ) have shown that categorical, rule-based approaches that make use of argument structure (e.g. Giegerich ) or semantics (e.g. Fudge ) are not able to account satisfactorily for the existing variability. Using data from the corpus studies by Plag and collegues, I argue in this paper that an exemplar-based approach is better-suited to accounting for stress assignment in English noun–noun compounds than a traditional, rule-based paradigm. Specifically, it is shown that two current implementations of exemplar-based algorithms, TiMBL (Daelemans et al. ) and AM::Parallel (Skousen & Stanford ), clearly outperform comparable rule models in terms of how well they predict stress assignment in the corpora. Furthermore, systematic testing reveals that the reasons for the differences between exemplar and rule models mainly lie in their ability to incorporate detailed, non-abstract information (specifically, constituent family information). The present study therefore adds to the growing evidence in favour of the importance of constituent family information in compounding (e.g. Gagné , Krott, Schreuder & Baayen ).


This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 47, Issue 3.

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