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.
- serial verb constructions