Pitch accent alignment in romance: Primary and secondary associations with metrical structure

Pilar Prieto, Mariapaola D'Imperio, Barbara Gili Fivela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


The article describes the contrastive possibilities of alignment of high accents in three Romance varieties, namely, Central Catalan, Neapolitan Italian, and Pisa Italian. The Romance languages analyzed in this article provide crucial evidence that small differences in alignment in rising accents should be encoded phonologically. To account for such facts within the AM model, the article develops the notion of "phonological anchoring" as an extension of the concept of secondary association originally proposed by Pierrehumbert and Beckman (1988), and later adopted by Grice (1995), Grice, Ladd, and Arvaniti (2000), and others to explain the behavior of edge tones. The Romance data represent evidence that not only peripheral edge tones seek secondary associations. We claim that the phonological representation of pitch accents should include two independent mechanisms to encode alignment properties with metrical structure: (1) encoding of the primary phonological association (or affiliation) between the tone and its tone-bearing unit; and (2), for some specific cases, encoding of the secondary phonological anchoring of tones to prosodic edges (moras, syllables, and prosodic words). The Romance data described in the article provide crucial evidence of mora-edge, syllable-edge, and word-edge H tonal associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-396
Number of pages38
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Phonological representation of pitch accents
  • Primary and secondary association of tones
  • Tonal alignment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pitch accent alignment in romance: Primary and secondary associations with metrical structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this