This study examines what regulates secondary stress placement in English words. After discussing and criticising some influential stress theories, the framework presented in Burzio (1994) is modified. The modified framework is tested against a corpus of almost 1000 words with all their variants. The discussion is centered around the following problems: (i) factors influencing pre-tonic secondary stress placement, with special emphasis on prefixes and classical compound-initials (ii) the stressing of words ending in -ative (iii) the stressing of words ending in -atory. The analyses prove that Fudge (1984)'s classification of prefixes and compound-initials can successfully be incorporated into Burzio (1994)'s framework: these are assigned pre-determined structures. I find that stress preservation plays a major role in the placement of pre-tonic secondary stresses of affixed items. The hypothesis that initial heavy syllables attract stress is not confirmed. I propose that one heavy syllable may be left unparsed (and thus unstressed) at the beginning of words, though this is rarer than an initial unstressed light syllable. Based on the analysis of -atory words, I suggest that a new foot type, (HWW) should be included into the inventory of well-formed feet. This foot type is not discussed in Burzio (1994) and helps to analyse words that must be treated as exceptional in the lack of such a foot. At the end of the dissertation the list of all analysed items is provided
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