Serial verb constructions and the syntax-prosody interface

Matthew Tyler, Itamar Kastner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rolle (2020) identifies an apparent morphophonological conspiracy in serial verb constructions (SVCs) in Degema. He argues that it constitutes evidence for a partly-unified postsyntactic module, in which morphology and prosody are built in parallel (by ‘Optimality-Theoretic Distributed Morphology’). We argue that the pattern Rolle identifies in Degema SVCs instead results from the simultaneous interaction of two independently-attested syntax-prosody phenomena: (1) the pressure for adjacent verbs in an SVC to form a single prosodic unit, and (2) the suppression of redundant agreement within a single prosodic word (a.k.a. ‘Kinyalolo’s Generalization’). Thus the Degema SVC conspiracy can be localized to the syntax-prosody interface, and there is no need to adopt a unified postsyntactic morphology-prosody module like Rolle’s. We offer some further conceptual critiques of his model.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Early online date10 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • clitics
  • syntax-prosody
  • degema
  • serial verb constructions

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