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Parameters of Predicate Fronting$
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Vera Lee-Schoenfeld and Dennis Ott

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197545553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197545553.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

The use of prosody as a diagnostic for syntactic structure: The case of verb-initial order

The use of prosody as a diagnostic for syntactic structure: The case of verb-initial order

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 4 The use of prosody as a diagnostic for syntactic structure: The case of verb-initial order
Source:
Parameters of Predicate Fronting
Author(s):

Lauren Clemens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197545553.003.0004

A major challenge in developing prosodic arguments to support or refute syntactic analyses is to discern when prosody transparently reflects syntax, verses when the correspondence between syntax and prosody is obscured by phonological, architectural, or mapping constraints. In this paper, I use data from Ch'ol (Mayan) and Niuean (Polynesian) to assess the efficacy of using acoustic cues to prosodic constituency as a diagnostic for syntactic structure. I demonstrate how arguments based on prosodic constituency can successfully reduce the hypothesis space available to syntactic analysis. Nonetheless, the insight gained from prosodic constituency can fall short of distinguishing between syntactic accounts, because syntax-prosody non-isomorphisms do arise. This problem can be addressed by using a variety of methodologies in search of converging evidence, e.g. using syntactic and prosodic argumentation in tandem and by collecting and analyzing more prosodic data in order to better understand the prosodic systems of individual languages.

Keywords:   Syntax, prosody, prosodic constituency, verb-initial word order, Mayan languages, Polynesian languages

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