Analysing stress across languages

Author : Rob Goedemans & Harry van der Hulst

Publication date : 1996

Bibliographical references :

Goedemans, Rob, van der Hulst, Harry and Visch, Ellis (eds.). 1996. Stress patterns of the world. HIL Publications 2. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.


This questionnaire, designed to study stress across languages, aims to enhance a database of stress systems of the world's languages: STRESSTYP.

Protocol summary

''We would like to invite you to contribute to a database of stress systems of the world's languages, called STRESSTYP. Not all of the questions are relevant for each individual language. Therefore, we have tried to guide you through the relevant questions. Most questions can be answered quickly by marking one or more given options. Of course, you can always give more details if you like. With respect to the open questions, we realize that some of them are formulated rather vaguely and that answering them could amount to writing a book. In such cases, keep in mind that we are interested in finding out whether the information asked for is relevant to the language. Of course, you can add as much information as you like. Finally, it is very important to provide us with examples (including glosses) with detailed marks for stress(es). After each question there is a(n empty) box to give your answer. If there is not enough space, you can use a separate piece of paper. We realize that a ready answer may not be available for all the questions: you can simply write 'don't know' where necessary.'' (Goedemans & Hulst, 1996: 1)

Development context

''The authors have made available a database containing the results of their use of the questionnaire. There are several versions of the database available. [...] 

Description (by the authors) of the goal of the StressTyp project:

The goal of StressTyp is to offer a quick entry to the primary and secondary literature on stress systems of the languages of the world. By primary literature we mean grammars and articles that provide descriptions of stress patterns, examples and the like. By secondary sources we refer to theoretical works on stress.  

In StressTyp we have tried to encode properties of stress systems without making a commitment to a specific theoretical framework, although it is necessarily the case that a coding system implicitly embodies a theory of stress. We have tried, however, to encode the relevant properties without avoiding redundancy, allowing for duplication of information and fields for informal statements and comments.
Since StressTyp now falls under the umbrella of the Prosody in Indonesian Languages (PIL) project, we will devote extra attention to Indonesian substrate languages in the near future. Indeed, a large protion of the languages that are currently being added are spoken in the Indonesian isles. Since some of these languages have tonal systems, and since the PIL project is phonetic as well as phonological in nature, we plan to expand StressTyp with some extra fields to accomodate broader description, renaming it ProsTyp.
In the more distant future we aim at embedding StressTyp in a network of related databases that provide information on various aspects of stress research, such as an annotated bibliography of stress (StressBib, currently in progress), a syllable structure database (SyllTyp, currently in progress), addresses of linguists who do research on stress (StressRes) and so on. The present global indicator for this imaginary network is StressEx (Stress Expert System). [...]

To promote the use of StressTyp we have published a collection of articles under the title "Stress Patterns of the World", of which some are based on StressTyp information. In addition, this volume describes the database architecture and presents some direct numerical results and examples of queries.
A second volume of "Stress Patterns of the World" is in preparation. It will contain selected data ordered by language family, and general introductions to stress phenomena in those families.'' (Typological tools for field linguistics website,

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