Second position and the prosody-syntax interface


Bgel, T.; Butt, M.; Kaplan, R. M.; King, T. H.; Maxwell, J. T. Second position and the prosody-syntax interface. Proceedings of the LFG10 Conference; 2010 June 18-20 Ottawa, Canada.


Bgel et al. (2009) outlined a new architecture for modeling the interaction between prosody and syntax: we proposed an arrangement of interacting components in which prosodic information is developed in a module that operates independently of the syntax while still allowing for syntactic rules and preferences to be conditioned on prosodic boundaries and other features. This architecture allows for misalignments between prosodic units and syntactic constituency, but it incorporates a Principle of Prosodic Preference that causes syntactic structures that do not coincide with prosodic boundaries to be dispreferred. In this paper, we extend the proposal to account for so-called second position clitics. These are clitics that are interpreted syntactically as if they are immediate constituents of a clause, but their appearance after the first prosodic word may embed them in lower constituents and thus insulate them from normal clausal interpretation. We meet this theoretical challenge by adding to the architecture a mathematically restricted “interface mapping” in the form of a regular relation that mediates between the divergent syntactic and prosodic requirements that clitics must jointly satisfy.

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