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A flexible approach to the mapping of intonational phrases*

  • Fatima Hamlaoui (a1) and Kriszta Szendrői (a2)


We propose that for the syntax–prosody mapping of clauses and intonational phrases, the notion of ‘clause’ should be determined in a flexible manner, making reference to the highest position to which the verbal material (i.e. the verb itself, the inflection, an auxiliary or a question particle) is overtly moved or inserted, together with the material in its specifier. This contrasts with rigid approaches, which assume that mapping is based on particular functional heads. We provide support for this proposal with data from the Bantu language Bàsàá and the Finno-Ugric language Hungarian, showing that a left-peripheral constituent may be prosodically outside the core intonational phrase even though its syntactic position is relatively low, as long as the verb is even lower, and, conversely, that a constituent may be phrased inside the core intonational phrase even if it is in a syntactically high position, as long as the verb is also high.


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We are very grateful to Amalia Arvaniti, Ad Neeleman, Laurent Roussarie and Michael Wagner for their insightful comments and suggestions. Our heartfelt thanks go to Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso for providing us with Bàsàá data and for his judgements, as well as for his readiness to discuss and share his extensive knowledge of Bàsàá tonology with us. We also wish to thank the audiences at the ZAS syntax–phonology circle, the workshop ‘The prosodic hierarchy in a typological perspective’ (Stockholm University) and the ETI3 conference (McGill University). Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors of this issue, Lisa Selkirk and Seunghun Lee, for detailed comments that have contributed substantially to the improvement of the paper. All errors are our own.



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A flexible approach to the mapping of intonational phrases*

  • Fatima Hamlaoui (a1) and Kriszta Szendrői (a2)


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