Syntax–Phonology Interface [chapter]

Elisabeth Selkirk
2015 International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Introduction The topic of the syntax-phonology interface is broad, encompassing different submodules of grammar and interactions of these. This chapter addresses one fundamental aspect of the syntax-phonology interface in detail: the relation between syntactic constituency and the prosodic constituent domains for sentence-level phonological and phonetic phenomena. Two further core aspects, which rely on an understanding of the first, are not examined here--the phonological realization
more » ... alization (spell-out) of the morphosyntactic feature bundles of morphemes and lexical items that form part of syntactic representation 1 and the linearization of syntactic representation which produces the surface word order of the sentence as actually pronounced 2 . Early observations in the context of generative grammar of the apparent effects of syntactic constituency on phonology indicate already that the presence or absence of various types of phonological phenomena at different locations within a sentence correlates with differences in syntactic structure. Chomsky and Halle 1968 observed the tendency for local maxima of prosodic stress prominence to fall on the rightmost constituent within a phrase: [ [A sènator [from Chicágo] ] [ wòn [ the làst eléction] ] ]. McCawley 1968 recognized that in Tokyo Japanese "initial lowering"-a LH tone sequence--appeared at the left edge of groupings that correlate (in part) with syntactic constituency. Selkirk 1974 reported that in French the absence of word-final consonant deletion before a following vowel, referred to as liaison, also correlates with syntactic structure, as seen in the pronunciation of the adjective petit with final -t or without it: [ [ Le petit âne ] [ le suivait] ] the little donkey him-followed "The little donkey followed him" vs. [ [Le petit ] [ [ aime] [ le Guignol] ], the little one loves the Guignol, "The little one loves the puppet theater". Subsequent research has expanded our understanding of the types of phonological phenomena that may be domain-sensitive in this very general sense: the full set includes a broad range of markedness-driven tonal phenomena of the sort that are independently attested in studies of word-level tonology and a broad range of markedness-driven segmental phenomena. There has also has been considerable phonetic research testifying to domain-sensitivity in the phonetic interpretation of the sentence. In the last thirty years or so, debate has persisted around a central basic question: What is the nature of the linguistic representation in terms of which domain-sensitive phenomena of sentence phonology and phonetics are defined? Does the syntactic representation alone itself provide the structure in terms of which these domain-sensitive phenomena are defined (Cooper and Paccia
doi:10.1016/b978-0-08-097086-8.57036-6 fatcat:tho7pz3y5bbsfjwqgaoahdr2um