The productivity of a root-initial accenting suffix, [-zu]: Judgement studies

Shigeto Kawahara, Sophia Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In many languages affixes can assign accents on roots to which they attach. Some previous studies have claimed that accents assigned by affixes universally fall on syllables next to the affixes (Kurisu 2001; Revithiadou 2008). Kawahara and Wolf (2010) document a newly-coined suffix which counterexemplifies this generalization: the new Japanese suffix [-zu] assigns an accent on root-initial syllables. This paper reports five experiments that test the productivity of non-local accentuation of this suffix. The first three experiments show that given four-mora roots, Japanese speakers prefer initial accents in zu-words to those in monomorphemic words. However, when zu-words are derived from four-mora long roots, speakers prefer default antepenultimate accentuation to initial accentuation. The last two experiments using shorter roots show that speakers assign initial accents to zu-words more often when derived from shorter roots. Overall, the experiments support the initial accenting behavior of [-zu], contributing to the typology of affix-controlled accentuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-857
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Accents
  • Experimental phonology
  • Japanese
  • Locality
  • Preaccentuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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