1887
Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Abstract

It has been frequently noted in the literature that content words need to consist of at least three letters; this observation is commonly dubbed “three letter rule.” However, a survey of the database ( Baayen et al. 1995 ) shows that there are (nearly) no content words in English and German that begin with two or more consonant letters and end in a single vowel letter. Words such as [bruː] are not spelt *<bru> but <brew> with an additional letter. These findings cannot be accounted for by the three letter rule but they are explicable within a supra-segmental theory of graphematics that includes graphematic feet and graphematic weight: a well-formed graphematic word consists of at least one graphematic foot that in turn consists of at least one heavy graphematic syllable. This paper offers a data-based survey in order to answer the question whether there is a suprasegmental minimality constraint for monosyllabic graphematic words in English and German.

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2017-05-22
2019-10-16
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