Anna Daugavet

Syllable length in Latvian and Lithuanian: searching for the criteria

Although the traditional account of syllable length in the Baltic languages confines itself to its connection with syllable tones, other phenomena are also found to be length sensitive. In Lithuanian, syllable length can influence the position of primary stress, while in Latvian it is one of the factors in secondary stress assignment. Several cases of vowel and consonant lengthening, shortening, and deletion can be explained on the assumption that these processes serve the purpose of fitting into a particular unit of quantity. In some instances, the traditional view of the composition of long syllables may need to be revised.

Keywords: syllable weight, weight-sensitive phenomena, compensatory lengthening, hypercharacterized syllables, consonant gemination