Non-final accent placement

This page describes where non-final accent goes, as well as where vowel length goes: accented vowels — and vowels preceding the accented one — are sometimes long, and there are rules to describe where many instances of vowel length can be expected.

Before starting, you should review the page on counting syllables.

You should also know about the following conditions on lengthening, described further on the Vowel length page.

Conditions on lengthening 

  • Do not lengthen a vowel if
  • it is followed by < h > or < ˀ >
  • it is followed by another vowel

 

Overview of non-final accent placement

For non-final accent placement, first determine if the second-last vowel is even-numbered or odd-numbered. Here is a summary of what to do next, followed by examples.

  • If the second-last vowel is even-numbered
    • Accent it (and lengthen it if possible)
  • If the second-last vowel is odd-numbered
    • and if it is an < a >, accent the third-last vowel instead
    • and if it is followed by more than one consonant, accent the third-last vowel instead
    • and if it is followed by T, K, J, H, or ˀ, accent the third-last vowel instead
    • Otherwise, accent the second-last, odd-numbered vowel
      • also lengthen it, if possible
      • in this case only, also lengthen the third-last vowel, if possible 

Finally, there is one situation where the accent regularly shifts to a previous vowel:

 Accent shift

  • Determine which vowel should be accented, using the above rules.
  • Check to see if it is immediately preceded by another vowel (e.g. hypothetical ...aé ...).
  • If it is, then shift the accent leftwards (e.g., ...áe...) .

 

Examples: if the second-last vowel is even-numbered

  • If the second-last vowel is even-numbered
    • accent it, and
    • lengthen it (if the conditions on lengthening are met)

In the following examples, the second-last vowel is even-numbered and so is accented. The accented vowel in de̲hǫgwe̲ˀdí:yo: is also long because it meets the conditions on lengthening. In contrast, the accented vowel in agęna̲háotraˀ cannot be lengthened.

de̲hǫgwe̲ˀdí:yo: he is not a nice man 

agęna̲háotraˀ my hat 

 

Examples: if the second-last vowel is odd-numbered

Is the second-last vowel < a > and odd-numbered?

If the answer is yes, then accent the third-last vowel instead:

asatgǫhsóhae:ˀ you have washed your face

 

Is the second-last vowel odd-numbered and followed by more than one consonant?

If the answer is yes, then accent the third-last vowel instead:

gatgę́hetsaˀ a handle 

 

Is the second-last vowel odd-numbered and followed by T, K, J, H, or ˀ ?

If the answer is yes, then accent the third-last vowel instead:

hoyánetaˀ the chief's clan mother 

 

For all other odd-numbered cases

  • If the second-last vowel is odd-numbered, and meets none of the above conditions on odd-numbered vowels, then
    • Accent the second-last, odd-numbered vowel
    • Lengthen it too (if the conditions on lengthening allow it)
    • Also lengthen the third-last vowel (if the conditions on lengthening allow it)

 

In the first example, the second-last vowel is accented and lengthened, but the third-last vowel cannot be lenthened. In contrast, in the next example, the second-last vowel is accented and lengthened, and the third-last vowel can also be lengthened.

ęhsnaˀjó:dęˀ you will boil it 

aga:tǫ́:deˀ I heard it 

 

  

Examples: words that can't be accented

(Also see the page about Accenting short words.)

According to the above rules, some words will not have an eligible second-last or third-last vowel to accent. This is dealt with in various ways, illustrated below. In the following examples, the first vowel is counted as second-last and odd-numbered, and doesn't meet the conditions for accenting because it is followed by H; in this case, the third-to-last vowel should be accented instead. However, these words are too short to have a third-to-last vowel. In such cases, the word can either remain without an accent or take a final accent instead. 

 

ohyaˀ berries (no accent; both vowels have the same pitch) 

ohyáˀ berries (final accent) 

 

dashá: here, take this (final accent)

hahdo:s he dives (no accent; both vowels have the same pitch)

 

 

Examples: accent shift

If the vowel-to-be-accented is immediately preceded by another vowel, then the accent shifts leftward.

'Immediately preceded' means that there is no consonant between the vowel that 'should' be accented, and the vowel right before it.

In the following example, the second-last vowel (i.e., the 6th vowel from the beginning of the word) should be accented, except that it is immediately preceded by another vowel; so the 5th vowel is accented instead:

sayaˀdodrǫhgwáonihs you are always shivering