Phrasal rhythmic phenomena in English and Swedish


Merle Horne (Lund)


Germanic languages like English and Swedish are traditionally classified as stress-timed languages whereas Romance languages like French and Spanish are classed as syllable-timed languages. One way of approaching the description of the difference between these two kinds of rhythm can be by relating different rhythmical phenomena to different levels of structure. In a hierarchical model of rhythm, this assumes the distinction between word-based rhythmic patterns (e.g. word stress deriving from foot construction processes) and phrase-based rhythmic patterns (phrase stress or phrase boundary marking).


This contribution will present the results of research done in Lund on phrasal rhythmic processes. For English, this will involve a summary of results motivating the Rhythm Rule as an accent deletion phenomenonon (Gussenhoven 1991). For Swedish, evidence will be presented for the existence of a Beat Addition rule creating rhythmic alternation between unstressed syllables at the phrasal level.


Gussenhoven, C. 1991. The English Rhythm Rule as an accent deletion rule. Phonology 8, 1-35.