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Fields in the Stress System Database

The database is comprised of records. Each record contains 5 fields describing a single primary stress system:

The Long Word SPC field contains a describing the basic pattern of primary stress in the language. For many languages, the pattern of stress in short words must also be specified, requiring separate SPCs for long and short words. Within the Long Word SPC field,


indicates the SPC is valid for words of at least m syllables

The Short Word SPC field contains a Syllable Priority Code describing the pattern of primary stress exhibited by short words in the language. A language which generally exhibits stress on the third syllable of a word, for example, may have some words with fewer than three syllables, and stress clearly cannot be assigned to these short words on the basis of the SPC "3L" which describes the third-syllable stress observed in longer words in the language.

Within the Short Word SPC field,


identifies an SPC for words with at most m syllables


identifies an SPC for words of length i to j syllables

The Language field contains one or more names for the language.

The References field cites one or more works on the primary stress system of the language described in the record.

The Comments field is an unsystematic source of miscellaneous additional information. Comments usually describe how syllable weight is determined in quantity-sensitive stress systems. In languages with bottom-up stress assignment (where the location of primary word stress evidently depends on the prior parsing of syllables into metrical feet), the Comments usually describe what sort of feet are implicated. Comments sporadically note the existence of lexical exceptions to the stress system described in the SPC fields, but the absence of such a comment should not be taken to imply the absence of lexical exceptions from the language in question. Occasionally the Comments field remarks on some other interesting facet of a particular stress system, such as the existence of secondary stresses at three-syllable intervals.