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Prosody/Syntax Workshop, DGfS 2017

Conference URL: http://dgfs2017.uni-saarland.de/wordpress/

Theories of language production and theories of grammar agree in that they grant syntax precedence over prosody in sentence construction. That is, in prominent models of language production, prosody is considered to be built on the basis of syntactic pre-processing (e.g. Levelt 1993; Dell, Burger, and Svec 1997). Similarly, in grammar theory, the purpose of the phonological component is primarily in interpreting or expressing a syntactic structure (e.g., Chomsky 1995; Pollard and Sag 1994). Correspondingly, syntactic influences on phonological structure are expectable and well documented (Speer, Warren, and Schafer 2011; Wagner 2005, among many others).

However, prosodic structure does not mirror syntactic structure perfectly, and mismatches between prosodic domains and syntactic constituents are commonplace. This raises the question as to what extent prosody is generated independently from syntax. What is more, the reverse influence is also well attested: For example, it has been shown that speakers preferably utter sentences with a well-formed prosodic structure instead of conceivable syntactic alternatives that violate prosodic requirements (Behaghel 1930; Schlüter 2005, among many others). Prosodic requirements may even constrain syntax to such an extent that under certain conditions, the default, “unmarked” word order is not acceptable and another, “marked” word order is the only viable option (e.g., Samek-Lodovici 2005; Richards 2010).

This kind of evidence for mutual influence of syntax and prosody appears to be problematic for strictly modular, unidirectional models of both grammar and language use. At the same time, the division of labor between syntax and phonology has been experiencing shifts, with some claiming that constituent linearization is the task of the phonology (e.g. Burton-Roberts & Poole 2006), while others hold that intonation is syntactic in nature (Scheer 2012).

This workshop focuses on the interplay between syntax and prosody in linguistic encoding, specifically examining the extent to which prosody affects syntax, and vice versa. In light of the assumption that language production and perception involves recourse to grammatical knowledge, we especially ask how the grammar has to be conceptualized to be in position to explain prosodic/phonological influences on sentence structure.

Abstract Submission has been closed
Abstract Review is closed
Meeting Location:
Saarbrücken, Germany

Contact Information:
Joost Kremers
[email protected]

Meeting Dates:
Mar 8, 2017 to Mar 11, 2016

Abstract Submission Information:
Abstracts can be submitted from 27-May-2016 until 15-Aug-2016.

Prosody/Syntax Workshop, DGfS 2017, [email protected]