PROMINENCE IN BEAT STRUCTURE
The sonority scale is generally invoked in order to provide an account of possible syllable or beat structures - the more sonorous a segment the more likely it is to serve as a nucleus. Auditory considerations, however, point to the primacy of onsets instead of nuclei as the most perceptually prominent segments in a syllable. Prominence Phonology (Schwartz, in preparation) considers the structure of a beat to be based on the interaction of two preference scales - one for onset prominence, and one for nuclear prominence. This paper presents the auditory properties of the two scales, and describes how the interactions between them may affect beat structure. These interactions can offer a plausible account of the 'empty nucleus', and provide a formal vehicle in describing the application of Natural Phonological processes. The connection between beat structure prominence scales and the representation of segments in Prominence Phonology is also discussed, with implications for the interface between phonetics and phonology.
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