chapter  5
8 Pages

Summary, Conclusions, and Some Implications

A strong tendency exists for accentual change in a variety of languagecontact settings. On the one hand, such changes have been observed in progress around the world; on the other, numerous areal groupings of accentuation indirectly attest to geographical spread. More specifically, tonal systems often yield in contact settings to pitch accent, and often eventually to fixed-stress accent systems. Tonal and nontonal languages are frequently found in areal groupings cutting across genetic linguistic boundaries, as are the most widely attested fixed-stress patterns, that is, initial stress in an area stretching from northern Europe into the Soviet Union, and final stress in the Middle East.