Words and phrases in many languages exhibit distinct rhythmic patterns. These rhythmic patterns are often referred to as "stress patterns" or "accent patterns." Over the past several decades, both field linguists and theoretical linguists have endeavored to understand the nature of these patterns in individual languages and the range of variation that exists across languages. The goal of this project is the construction and dissemination of a typological database, to be called StressTyp2 (ST2), which documents and organizes these patterns in the world's languages.

The PIs have three specific tasks. First, they will merge the information in existing databases of stress and accent patterns. Second, they will improve, verify and enrich the dataset in a variety of ways and develop a web-based interface that makes the information in ST2 available to researchers and citizens around the world, and which meets or exceeds professional and scientific standards. The third goal of this project is to adopt (and, where necessary, establish) best practices for the collection, organization, dissemination and presentation of typological data pertaining to sound patterns in natural language.

There are many issues in constructing cross-linguistic data resources. The PIs will focus on the complex logical structure involved in a relational database which tracks dozens of linguistic properties, developing standards for assessing the accuracy or confidence of linguistic descriptions of lesser studied languages, and statistical sampling techniques for evaluating how representative the information in ST2 is of the world's languages and particular language families.

This research will fund two public workshops on word accent systems with domestic and international experts, which will both educate and inspire attendees, which will include professors, graduate students and undergraduate students. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate students will receive significant amounts of training as research assistants in the collection, verification, dissemination and analysis of linguistic data.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Joan Maling
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University of Connecticut
United States
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