Max Planck Institute
for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Linguistics

Typological tools for field linguistics


Questionnaire on Stress Typology

The authors have made available a database containing the results of their use of the questionnaire. There are several versions of the database available and the authors provide suggestions regarding the preferred way to access the data:

We strongly advise users to obtain the Access version. The other versions are no longer updated. When you do wish to use one of the full 4th Dimension versions you will need to buy 4th Dimension (the Database package for which the StressTyp application was written, cost: about $500, contact ACI). The runtime version of StressTyp, which I can distribute freely with the consent of ACI, can be obtained without cost. I will only ask you to fill out a license agreement form. The Access version, of course, can be used on any PC that has MS Office installed. In all cases you need to contact the authors to get the StressTyp application.

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.

We plan to extend the content of the database by systematically trying to add information on language families or linguistic areas that are now underrepresented (see section 4.1). The goal of the coding system has been to make it possible to search through the database for the occurrence of quite specific properties. With the search facilities of 4th Dimension, StressTyp can be instrumental in testing and developing hypotheses (after the current limitations of StressTyp have been dealt with; cf. section 3.2).

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).

By making the database available to other researchers we hope to benefit from their knowledge (or personal databases in whatever form) and cooperation in adding more languages to the system, and improving the quality of information presently contained in StressTyp.

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.

The questionnaires
PDF Download (document contains a report on their research including their questionnaire)

Developed by
Harry van der Hulst & Rob Goedemans