2

I know that oxytone, paroxytone, and proparoxytone mean that its stress is on the last, penultimate, and antepenultimate syllable, respectively. Does a term for those having it on the first exist? Thanks.

2 Answers 2

4

The term you're looking for is prototonic, meaning a word accented on the first syllable. Additionally, there is the term deuterotonic, which indicates an accent on the second syllable.

Mitch's answer describes terminology from poetic meter rather than technical linguistic terms. For anyone looking for terms in that regard, his information is correct.

3

A two-syllable word with the stress on the first syllable is called a

trochee.

Words like 'double', 'parent', and 'major' are trochees. There are a lot more examples in this xkcd comic.

This is in distinction to an iamb, with the stress on the second syllable, for example: 'police', 'manure', 'alive'.

'Trochee' isn't exactly what you're looking for since it describes only two syllable words, and you're looking for a word with any number of syllables where the accent is on the first. (anapest is for three syllable words.) Also, these terms are mostly used for poetic meter, irrespective of word boundaries, but they still are often applied to standalone words.

One would expect, by analogy with the Greek system, that

prototone

would be the word (proto- = first) but is not listed in the OED. It is sometimes used though:

It is generally agreed ... that preclassical Latin was prototone: stress the initial syllable.

2
  • "Trochee" is a term used to describe meter in poetry. This is not the correct context for the question, which is asking about linguistic terms.
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 22:53
  • Also, proterotone isn't a word, but you're thinking on the right track. I would think the correct noun form might be "prototerone," but that doesn't seem to be an established word, either. In any case, the correct term the poster is looking for is prototonic.
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 22:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.