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Secondary stress

Primary stress is bound up with an increase in amplitude, duration, and pitch: a stressed syllable is louder, longer, and is spoken on a slightly higher pitch than an unstressed one (see Primary stress). A syllable with secondary stress has the same properties, that is, it is also louder, longer and is spoken on a higher pitch than an unstressed syllable, but to a lesser degree than a syllable with primary stress.

The mechanism underlying the basic stress rhythm of Frisian is the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. This means that, given the location of main stress in a word, the location of secondary stress is largely predictable. The general tendency for syllables directly adjacent to the one with main stress is to be unstressed and for the ones adjacent to these unstressed syllables to have secondary stress. This is illustrated by words like ˌre.sul.'taat result and ˌle.di.'kant bed(stead), with primary stress on the final and secondary stress on the penultimate syllables, as indicated.

Since a word can only have one main stress and has to display an alternating stress rhythm, secondary stress can only be found in words with a minimum of three syllables. The general principle underlying the distribution of secondary stresses in words is the Alternating Stress Principle, which is suplemented by the Hammock Principle.

Since a) there is not much literature on Frisian stress and b) the Frisan and Dutch stress systems match to a great extent, the topics on secondary stress are mainly based on the comparable Dutch topics, found in Word stress.