Gouskova, Maria and Kevin Roon. 2008. Interface constraints and frequency in Russian compound stress. In the Proceedings of the 17th Meeting of Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics. Edited by Jodi Reich, Maria Babyonyshev, and Darya Kavitskaya. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publishers. pp. 49-63.
Russian normally has only one stress per word, but compounds may have more than one stress. We conducted a production study and identified the following conditions under which secondary stress surfaces. First, secondary stress appears on the left-hand stem of a compound if it is present underlyingly and is separated by at least two syllables from the main stress. Thus, underlying stress surfaces in /obo’ron-o-spo’sobnost/ [obo,ronospos’obnost] `defense capability’ but not in /golov-o-‘lomka/ [golovo’lomka] `puzzle’ or /’les-o-rub/ [leso’rub] `lumberjack.’ Second, secondary stress may appear even if it not present underlyingly, and if it is close to the main stress, in compounds that have low surface frequency. We analyze this as evidence for a constraint indexed to low-frequency words that requires each morphological stem to project a phonological prominence. Thus, low frequency requires a more robust indication of morphological complexity, which is signaled in Russian by secondary stress.