The English Compound Of Stress Assignment English Language Essay

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In English, compounding is a high level systematic series of actions to create new words such as boarding schools, eviction notice or state colleges. These Noun-noun compounds are classified as receiving stress either on the first constituent or on the second. English compounds have a stress pattern that is different from that of phrases. While most compounds are stressed on the first part, phrases are stressed on the final part .The nuclear stress rule and compound stress rule explains this systematic difference (Chomsky & Halle1968:17).

Modern studies have shown many different factors influence compound stress such as the morphology of the head, and the semantic characteristics of the compounds having significant effects. Plag (2009) explains that the stress bias in the constituent families is significant side by side with other significant predictors. Bell (2008) has lately suggests that constituent family size has an influence on compound stress assignment (see also Marchand 1969 for an earlier, similar approach). She puts forward the concept that there is a negative correlation between the family size of a compound constituent and the proportion of stress on this constituent. When the constituent becomes more predictable, and hence less informative, we stress on the constituent that appears less frequently. (see, for example, Ladd 1984 for discussion and examples).

Hypotheses about compound stress assignment

Frankly speaking, there are four types of approach have been taken to account for the very confusing facts of different types of noun-noun stress. The first one is what Plag (2006) has called the `structural hypothesis'. It is the hypothesis that bases mainly on the argument-modifier distinction .This hypothesis (e.g. Bloomfield 1933, Lees 1963, Marchand 1969, Payne and Huddleston 2002) affirms that compounds are regularly left-stressed, and that word combinations with rightward stress cannot be compounds. One natural possibility is to consider such forms to be phrases but we need to have criteria to determine whether something is a lexical entity (i.e. a compound) or a syntactic entity (i.e.a phrase). Spencer (2003) also argues that we find compounds with phrasal stress, and phrases with compound stress, and hence that stress is more related to lexicalization patterns than to structural differences. Giegerich (2004) builds his theory according to the fact that English syntax complements follow the head; he argues that, due to the order of parts, complement-head structures like truck driver cannot be syntactic phrases, hence must be compounds, hence are left-stressed. Modifier-head structures such as steel brídge show the same word order as matching modifier-head phrases (cf. wooden brídge), hence are syntactic structures and consistently right-stressed. These are considered as a result of lexicalization. This means, however, that many existing modifier-head structures are in fact not stressed in the predicted way, since they are left-stressed (e.g. ópera glasses, táble cloth). Such aberrant behavior is, according to Giegerich, the result of lexicalization. The concept that there is a relationship between lexicalization and stress assignment is old and has also been supported by other authors. For example, Bauer (1983b:51) mentions irregular stress assignment in English derivatives and Danish compounds as prototypical cases of (phonological) lexicalization. And Adams (1973:59) writes that "in established NPs which are used frequently and over a period of time the nucleus tends to shift from the second to the first element although this does not always happen " (emphasis added).

The second approach is called a 'semantic hypotheses. A number of scholars have discussed that words with rightward stress ``are systematic exceptions to the compound stress rule (e.g. Sampson 1980,Fudge 1984, Ladd 1984, Liberman and Sproat 1992, Sproat 1994, Olsen 2000, 2001,Spencer 2003). Although these authors differ slenderly in details of their specific approaches, they all argue that rightward distinction is restricted to only a limited number of more or less well-defined types of meaning categories and relationships. Pertinent examples are copulative compounds like geologist-astrónomer and scholaráctivist (cf. Plag 2003:146), which are uncontroversially considered to be regularly right-stressed.Other meaning relationships that are often, if not typically, accompanied by rightward stress are temporal or locative (e.g. a summer níght, the Boston márathon), or causative, usually paraphrased as 'made of' (as in aluminum fóil, silk tíe) or 'created by' (as in a Shakespeare sónnet, a Mahler sýmphony). It is, however, confusing how accurate the membership in a given semantic class can really predict the kind of stress. The leftward stress on súmmer school, súmmer camp or dáy job, for example,

Disregards Fudge's (1984:144ff.) generalization that noun-noun assembles in which the first noun refers to a period or point of time are right-stressed. Furthermore, it is

unclear how many, and which, semantic classes should be set up to account for all the

putative exceptions to the compound stress rule (see also Bauer 1998:71 on this point). Finally, semantically very similar compounds can behave differently in terms of stress assignment (Mádison Street vs. Madison Ávenue). And again, we have to state that, apart from the copulative compounds (see Olsen 2001) and compounds expressing an authorship relation (see Plag 2006), detailed and systematic empirical studies are lacking for the classes postulated to trigger rightward stress because the proponents of the approach we label 'structural hypothesis' have never referred to that category, although this category might be considered 'structural' (and 'semantic' at the same time).makes use of the semantic characteristics of compound.

The third approach assumes that stress assignment is commonly based on analogy to existing NN constructions in the mental lexicon. Plag (2003:139) mentions the textbook examples of street vs. avenue compounds as a clear case of analogy. All street names involving street as their right-hand constituent, pattern alike in having leftward stress (e.g. _ Oxford Street, M_ain Street, F_ourth Street), while all combinations with, for example, avenue as right-hand member pattern alike in having rightward stress (e.g. Fifth _ Avenue, Madison _ Avenue). Along similar lines, Spencer (2003:331) suggests that stress models are in many cases determined by (admittedly vague) semantic constructions. Schmerling (1971:56) is an early advocate of an analogical approach, discussing that many compounds choose their stress model in analogy to combinations that have the same head, i.e. rightward member. Liberman & Sproat (1992) extend this proposal to both constituents of the compound. As we mentioned before, we found that all the mentioned authors don't explain how far such an analogical approach can reach. A fourth approach to compound stress assignment makes reference to the number of compounds in a given constituent family. Bell's and Marchand's hypotheses boil down to a negative correlation between family size and stress. The larger the right family, the smaller the proportion of right-stressed compounds among the compounds with that right constituent and vice versa. Ladd (1984:260) explains that with increasing type frequency, the given constituent becomes more predictable and hence less informative which then leads to stress on the more informative constituent.

In a production experiment with native speakers, Bell (2008) nods evidence

in her data (taken from the BNC Demographic Corpus) there is a large left family for world with a majority of right-stressed compounds (as in world champion, world council, world cup, world leader), and the opposite effect for the very frequent right constituent line, as in clothes line, help line, production line, travel line. Bell also points out that there are clear counterexamples, such as the right constituent pie, which has a large family, but all pertinent compounds (with the exception

of lexicalized and opaque honey-pie) are right-stressed (cf. apple pie, lemon pie

meringue pie, mince pie, etc.). Obviously, there seem to be competing forces at work, in this case perhaps the constituent family stress bias, or the semantic relation (`N1 is an element of N2'), which is constant across the family and usually goes together with rightward stress.

It is thus not known how far the family size approach can take us in explaining different types of compound stress in English. Furthermore, it is unclear how the supposed effect would communicate with other factors that influence compound stress assignment. Is the family size effect stronger, weaker, or not found at all?

Hypotheses and predictions

The family size hypothesis makes the following predictions: (Prediction 1: The larger the left constituent family of a given compound, the smaller the chances of leftward stress. Prediction 2: The larger the right constituent family of a given compound,

the smaller the opportunities of rightward stress. Prediction 3: The family size is an independent predictor of compound stress, side by side with other predictors. Given that our regression models definitely predict the possibility of only one consequences (i.e. either leftward or rightward stress), we need to translate these predictions into predictions that make reference to only one type of stress. Using the possibility of rightward stress as the value to be predicted, we can develop again the predictions as follows: Prediction 1: The larger the left constituent family of a given compound, the higher the possibility of rightward stress in that family. Prediction 2: The larger the right constituent family of a given compound, the lower the possibility of rightward stress in that family. Prediction 3: Family size is a liberated predictor of compound stress, side by side with other predictors. In order to test prediction 3, we present models that include other known significant predictors (i.e. structural, semantic, and analogical ones). If the prediction is right, family size should arise as significant even in those models that incorporate also other factors that influence the distribution of stress in English compounds.

Summary and discussion

This research investigated the compound stress assignment and phrasal stress. It discusses the four approaches of stress the size effect of the right family was significant. we have collected very strong proves for a view that the semantics is the most important factor in the prediction of the stress types of a given compound. The structural hypothesis has been shown to underdetermine stress assignment. Contra to the hypothesis, and heedless of lexicalization, only certain subsets of the modifier-head compounds tend towards rightward stress. The simultaneous analysis of all factors also showed a significant, but only rather small, lexicalization effect which did not communicate with argument structure. The prediction of the structural hypothesis concerning lexicalization is therefore also partially proved false, in that we find a general effect of spelling and frequency, and not an effect that is restricted to modifier-head structures. We then investigated whether the observed family size effects persisted if other different types suspected of influencing compound stress assignment were factored in. In addition, we found an interaction of size and bias, in that for left constituents with a bias towards rightward stress, an increase in left family size leads to an even more pronounced tendency towards rightward stress. In other words, increasing family size strengthens the pertinent stress bias. This means that for the left family, family size works in the predicted direction, but only primarily as a modier of the much stronger family bias. There was no interaction between size and bias for the right family, but a decrease of the possibility of rightward stress with increasing right family sizes across the board. This can be taken as evidence for the existence of an independent family size effect, but not a very strong one. We have seen that increasing family size increases the chance of rightward stress for families that have a family bias towards rightward stress. For families that have a family bias towards leftward stress, increasing family size either has no effect whatsoever on the possibility of rightward stress (particularly true for celex), or decreases the possibility of rightward stress (particularly true for the Boston Corpus). Here, the probability of rightward stress decreases with increasing family size in general, irrespective of the family bias (at least, family bias is not significantly interacting with size).What do these results mean for an information-based approach to compound stress, and for an account of compound stress in general? Overall, our analyses have found little evidence for a general effect of family size, if other factors are taken into account. We think that the difference between compound word stress and syntactic phrase is clear now.

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