L'accent secondaire en anglais britannique contemporain

Abstract : This study on secondary accent in contemporary British English stands in the approach developed by Lionel Guierre and is composed of a theoretical section and an empirical section. First, we put forth our contribution to the exchange between the Guierrian School and more “standard” phonological and morphological theories. We do so by reasserting the specificities of the Guierrian framework using works from other theoretical frameworks. Thus, we propose a definition of what we mean by accent in English, we defend the importance of including orthographic information in the analysis of English phonology, we put forward proposals on how segmental structure may influence accent placement in this framework, we claim that it is necessary to acknowledge morphological units whose meaning is opaque and, finally, defend the view that English can be analysed as having not one but several phonologies. Secondly, after a presentation of contemporary theories dealing with secondary stress or accent and a literature review on the topic, we propose an analysis of a 5,829 words corpus containing a secondary stress mark from the third edition of the Longman English Pronunciation Dictionary. The presence and the position of secondary accent are analysed for the different morphological categories retained in the corpus, along with other related phenomena such as the value of the accented vowel or gemination. Our results confirm previous analyses on several points. First, secondary accent is restricted by rhythmic constraints which apply within a single lexical unit. Among suffixal derivatives, stress preservation prevails in the vast majority of the words studied here, even though a few exceptions are noted and discussed. As noted by most of the literature, transparent prefixes have their own phonological domain. This can be observed through the presence of a secondary accent on monosyllabic prefixes even when the base they are attached to has an initial accent, through consonant geminates or through the systematic presence of free vowels for vowel-final monosyllabic prefixes. However, we cannot confirm certain analyses proposed in the literature. We do not find any effect of segmental structure on accent placement in non-derived words with at least three pretonic syllables. We do not find any effect of relative frequency on second-syllable stress preservation in suffixal derivatives with three pretonic syllables, but instead find an effect of the presence of a monosyllabic opaque prefix and of the relative prominence of the first two syllables. The present study also bring forwards elements which, to our knowledge, have not been noted previously. We find pairs of antonymic prefixed words which can be opposed only through the meaning of their prefixes and for which only one member of the pair may bear a secondary accent on its prefix. We make the hypothesis that this accent is the manifestation that this word is the marked member of the pair. We find a new rule which we name the “Pretonic Initial Rule”. We note a tendency for monosyllabic opaque prefixes to reject secondary accent. Finally, we propose an account of the /021(-)/ pattern found in suffixal derivatives. This pattern is determined by the relative frequency of the derivative and its bases and by the presence or absence of a consonant cluster after the second vowel.
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Quentin Dabouis. L'accent secondaire en anglais britannique contemporain. Linguistique. Université François - Rabelais de Tours, 2016. Français. ⟨tel-01414997⟩

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