This volume provides the most comprehensive treatment of phonological weight to date, bringing together traditional notions of categorical, rime-based weight and new developments in statistical prosodic phonology. The book demonstrates that while some systems treat weight as a simple (heavy vs. light) distinction, others treat it as a rich continuum of heaviness. Following an introduction to weight-sensitive systems in phonology, Kevin Ryan explores the range of phenomena that interact with prosodic weight. Chapters examine the analysis of scales in terms of prominence rather than moraic coercion; prosodic minimality in the context of larger prosodic constituents; syllable weight in metrics; and the relationship between prosodic end-weight and stress. Throughout, the analysis is based on a survey of weight systems both within and across the world's languages, which yields a number of valuable generalizations and points towards a universal theory of weight in human language.
Kevin M. Ryan is Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 2011 after receiving his PhD from UCLA. His research centers on phonology, morphology, poetics, and South Asian languages, and draws on corpus-based, experimental, and typological data. A recurring focus is prosodic systems, including topics such as stress, weight, meter, and phrasal phonology. His work has appeared in journals such as Language, Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, and Phonology.