The first part of the book deals with problems of syllable structure, and the second part with stress (accentuation). In both, Harris presents evidence and arguments showing that previous analyses are descriptively and theoretically inadequate, and he proposes new interpretations. These include a proposition for analyzing syllable structure by combining a set of rules that apply to strings of phonemes and a set of filters that mark labeled constituents as deviant under specified conditions. Harris provides a systematic description of the stress contours of Spanish words that follows from morphological and markedness considerations.
Markedness is in turn interpreted in terms of the universal theory of "extrametricality." The book formulates and illustrates the Peripherality Condition, a universal principle that strongly constrains the theory of extrametricality, with highly desirable consequences for the description of Spanish grammar.
James W. Harris is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at MIT. This is the eighth volume in the series Linguistic Inquiry Monographs.