Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 32759

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
ATILF, CNRS & Université de Lorraine, 44, Avenue de la Libération, B.P. 30687, 54063 Nancy CEDEX, France
Interests: syntax–phonology interface; information structure; intonation; syntax; variation; bilingualism; methodology; Romance languages

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Guest Editor
Institut für Linguistik, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, D-60629 Frankfurt, Germany
Interests: intonation; prosody–syntax interactions; prosody–semantics interface; German phonology

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Guest Editor
Institut für Linguistik, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, , Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, D-60629 Frankfurt, Germany
Interests: prosody; tone; intonation; syntax–phonology interface; recursivity; information structure; prosodic typology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The goal of this Special Issue is to collect state-of-the art articles on different aspects of the interface between syntax and phonology—more concretely, on the higher-level or phrasal prosodic constituents. The focus will be on the question of recursivity in prosody, a topic that has been revisited by Ito and Mester (2013).

The last decade has seen a renewed interest in the algorithms relating syntactic and prosodic structure—see, for instance, Selkirk (2011) and her Match constraints inducing syntax-motivated recursivity in prosodic structure, and the recent overview of the field by Bennett and Elfner (2019). Not only the need for a mediation between the two areas by a set of prosodic constituents (direct and indirect reference hypotheses), but also the precise mapping mechanisms have been the subject of intensive research (for examples, see the collection of papers in a Special Issue of Phonology 32.1, Selkirk and Lee (eds.) 2015). In addition, questions on the direction of the connection between the two modules of grammar, with syntax impacting phonology or phonology impacting syntax, have (re-)entered the picture.

Empirical questions have also gained attention from different perspectives such as typological aspects, language contact, dialectal variation, heritage languages, and L2 acquisition in a large number of languages.

We feel that it is time to relaunch the discussion of the syntax–prosody interface from both theoretical and empirical approaches. We welcome contributions on all (further) issues related to this research field.

We request that interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution, prior to preparing their manuscripts. Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue, and then full manuscripts will be solicited. Please send the abstract either to the guest editors [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] or to the Languages Editorial Office at [email protected].

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 June 2020.

The notification of abstract acceptance is 30 June 2020.

The deadline for manuscript submission is 31 December 2020.

References

Bennett, Ryan & Elfner, Emily (2019). The Syntax–Prosody Interface. Annual Review of Linguistics 5 (1): 151-171.

Ito, Junko & Armin Mester (2013). Prosodic subcategories in Japanese. Lingua 124. 20–40.

Selkirk, Elisabeth (2011). The syntax-phonology interface. In The Handbook of Phonological Theory, 2nd edition, ed. J Goldsmith, J Riggle, A Yu, pp. 435-84.

Selkirk, Elisabeth & Lee, Seunghun (eds.) (2015). Constituent structure in sentence phonology. Phonology 32:1.

Prof. Dr. Ingo Feldhausen
Prof. Dr. Caroline Féry
Prof. Dr. Frank Kügler
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • syntax–prosody interface
  • recursivity
  • higher-level prosodic constituents
  • mapping mechanisms
  • typology

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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9 pages, 322 KiB  
Editorial
An Introduction to the Special Issue “Syntax-Phonology Interface and Recursivity”
by Caroline Féry, Ingo Feldhausen and Frank Kügler
Languages 2024, 9(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020048 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
The last decades have seen a renewed interest in the algorithms relating syntactic and prosodic structure since the ban on recursivity that had been prevalent in phonology for a long time was relaxed; see for instance Selkirk (2011) and Elfner (2012) for the [...] Read more.
The last decades have seen a renewed interest in the algorithms relating syntactic and prosodic structure since the ban on recursivity that had been prevalent in phonology for a long time was relaxed; see for instance Selkirk (2011) and Elfner (2012) for the Match constraints and Ito and Mester (2009, 2013) for the recursivity of the prosodic structure [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

19 pages, 441 KiB  
Article
Recursivity and Focus in the Prosody of Xitsonga DPs
by Seunghun J. Lee and Kristina Riedel
Languages 2023, 8(2), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8020150 - 9 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
This paper explores the prosodic patterns of complex DP structures in Xitsonga by looking at penultimate lengthening in DPs with marked and unmarked word orders of different types. We discuss the underlying syntactic structures and prosodic realizations of Xitsonga DPs. We are particularly [...] Read more.
This paper explores the prosodic patterns of complex DP structures in Xitsonga by looking at penultimate lengthening in DPs with marked and unmarked word orders of different types. We discuss the underlying syntactic structures and prosodic realizations of Xitsonga DPs. We are particularly interested in the way in which recursion applies in the Xitsonga DP, where it surfaces in DPs with multiple modifiers of the same or different categories that appear in fronted (i.e., pre-nominal) positions. We propose that in Xitsonga nominal constituents move to a left-periphery-like position within the DP domain and that this position matches to a focus-marked phonological phrase. This type of phonological phrase is forced to remain in the phonology even if the one-word phrase violates the Binarity constraint. We argue that the penultimate lengthening effects found in Xitsonga with the reordering of DP internal elements are best analyzed as showing sensitivity to this focus-marked phonological phrase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
23 pages, 4587 KiB  
Article
Match Theory and the Asymmetry Problem: An Example from Stockholm Swedish
by Shinichiro Ishihara and Sara Myrberg
Languages 2023, 8(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8020102 - 6 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
This article discusses what we call the Asymmetry Problem, a theoretical question of how asymmetric properties of prosodic phrasing should generally be accounted for within the framework of Match Theory. Unlike Alignment Theory, in which phrasing asymmetry can be derived by mapping constraints [...] Read more.
This article discusses what we call the Asymmetry Problem, a theoretical question of how asymmetric properties of prosodic phrasing should generally be accounted for within the framework of Match Theory. Unlike Alignment Theory, in which phrasing asymmetry can be derived by mapping constraints (e.g., Align-XP), Match Theory cannot derive any phrasing asymmetry from mapping (i.e., Match) constraints. Thus, Match Theory may seem to face empirical problems when data appear to call for an asymmetric ranking of mapping constraints. This article starts with the discussion of one such case in Stockholm Swedish, where asymmetric ranking of Alignment constraints has been proposed to account for the data. It will be argued that prosodic asymmetry arises from the directionality of prosodic heads (i.e., right- or left-headedness) rather than asymmetric syntax–prosody mapping, and that asymmetry can be explained through the interaction of Match constraints with markedness constraints that determine the distribution of prosodic heads. Furthermore, it will be proposed that such an analysis reduces the need of Alignment-based mapping constraints and therefore follows the Minimal Interface Hypothesis, which assumes Match constraints as the sole syntax–prosody mapping constraints. To support this line of analysis, it will be shown that the Asymmetry Problem in Japanese, for which it had previously been argued that both Match and Alignment constraints are needed, can also be accounted for under this hypothesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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28 pages, 13957 KiB  
Article
Phrase-Level ATR Vowel Harmony in Anum—A Case of Recursive Prosodic Phrasing
by Frank Kügler
Languages 2022, 7(4), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7040308 - 6 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1642
Abstract
(1) Like many other Kwa languages, Anum employs a pattern of [ATR] vowel harmony that is regressive and [+ATR] dominant (RVH). This paper analyses RVH as a phrasal process which takes into account recursive phonological phrases. The proposal argues for an application of [...] Read more.
(1) Like many other Kwa languages, Anum employs a pattern of [ATR] vowel harmony that is regressive and [+ATR] dominant (RVH). This paper analyses RVH as a phrasal process which takes into account recursive phonological phrases. The proposal argues for an application of the process within and across non-maximal phonological phrases (φ) and a blocking of application across maximal phonological phrases (φmax). (2) Investigating RVH in Anum in more detail, the size of constituents and the complexity of sentence structures are varied. Target sentences were recorded and transcribed for [ATR] vowel harmony. (3) The empirical data show that RVH applies frequently between words that belong to either the same or to different syntactic constituents, but is blocked between two verb phrases of a serial verb construction and between any word and a following sentence-final time adverbial. Interestingly, RVH occurs between a sentence-initial subject constituent and a following verb or verb phrase, independent of the size of the subject constituent and the remaining number of words in the sentence. (4) The proposed OT analysis accounts for RVH within syntax-phonology Match Theory and addresses both word-level and phrase-level harmony. The special behaviour of subject constituents that prosodically phrase together with verbs and with constituents of the verb phrase (VP) is discussed. Either a phonological well-formedness constraint or a syntactically distinct input may account for phrasing effects with subject constituents in Anum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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18 pages, 2029 KiB  
Article
Givenness and Stress Rejection
by Fabian Schubö
Languages 2022, 7(4), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7040269 - 23 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
This paper addresses the impact of givenness on phrasal stress assignment in German. It has been observed for English that nuclear stress is rejected on given elements that are part of the focused material if another focused word is available to bear nuclear [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the impact of givenness on phrasal stress assignment in German. It has been observed for English that nuclear stress is rejected on given elements that are part of the focused material if another focused word is available to bear nuclear stress. It is shown that the same effect applies to German. There are various proposals of constraints that militate against prosodic prominence on given elements. The present paper reviews these proposals and argues in favor of a constraint that is restricted to banning nuclear stress on given elements, but not phrasal stress in general. The argument is based on the observation for German that phrasal stress commonly occurs on pre-focal given constituents and may as well be present in post-focal position. The paper offers an analysis in the framework of Optimality Theory that captures the aforementioned stress rejection effect as well as the variability observed with regard to post-nuclear phrasal stress positions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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50 pages, 1272 KiB  
Article
Prosodic Word Recursion in a Polysynthetic Language (Blackfoot; Algonquian)
by Natalie Weber
Languages 2022, 7(3), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7030159 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2469
Abstract
This paper focuses on prosodic adjunction at the Prosodic Word level in a polysynthetic language. I argue that recursion at a depth of more than two levels can only be generated by a theory which requires exact correspondence between certain syntactic phrases and [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on prosodic adjunction at the Prosodic Word level in a polysynthetic language. I argue that recursion at a depth of more than two levels can only be generated by a theory which requires exact correspondence between certain syntactic phrases and Prosodic Words. Such a theory is similar to Phonological Phrase correspondence in Match Theory, suggesting there is an underlying shared property between correspondence at the Prosodic Word and Phonological Phrase levels. In addition, this theory must include a constraint which prohibits recursive prosodic constituents in order to generate the attested typology of clitics across languages. The empirical focus is the prosodic structure of the verbal complex in Blackfoot (Algonquian; ISO 639-3: bla). Using phonotactic evidence I argue that the vP phase corresponds to a Prosodic Word, and that each prefix to the stem is a Prosodic Word adjunct. I then compare several theories of the syntax-prosody interface, including versions of Alignment Theory, Wrap Theory, and Match Theory. A subset of schematic candidates with one or two prefixes to a stem are used to determine which theories generate the attested typology of clitics as well as a multiply recursive Prosodic Word structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
39 pages, 14368 KiB  
Article
Word Order, Intonation, and Prosodic Phrasing: Individual Differences in the Production and Identification of Narrow and Wide Focus in Urdu
by Farhat Jabeen
Languages 2022, 7(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020103 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3467
Abstract
This study investigates speaker based variation in the use of word order and intonation to mark narrow and wide focus in Urdu. The identification of focus type and position, as well as the prosodic phrasing of declarative sentences produced in the target focus [...] Read more.
This study investigates speaker based variation in the use of word order and intonation to mark narrow and wide focus in Urdu. The identification of focus type and position, as well as the prosodic phrasing of declarative sentences produced in the target focus conditions, is also discussed. The results of a semi-spontaneous production experiment indicated no preference for a linear position, as the focused nouns were mostly placed in situ (89%). The analysis of phonetic cues showed significant inter- and intraspeaker variation in participants’ use of longer noun duration, higher F0 peak, and wider F0 range in the narrowly focused nouns, as compared with their counterparts produced in wide focus. In the identification survey conducted online, the consistent use of phonetic cues in speech production was found to influence the correct identification of narrow focus and the position of focused nouns. Another online survey, concerning the prosodic phrasing of sentences produced in narrow and wide focus, showed participants’ slight preference for a recursive Intonational Phrase boundary on the left edge of the narrowly focused nouns. The results of both the surveys show that Urdu speakers vary in their identification of focus as well as their choice of prosodic phrasing in the target contexts. This research highlights the role of individual variation in the use of word order and phonetic cues to mark narrow and wide focus in Urdu. It also illustrates that the identification of focus type and phrasing is far from uniform. These findings have implications for the analysis of intonation in general, as this study testifies that the production and identification of intonation and prosodic phrasing are not invariable and speakers and listeners differ in their use of available linguistic means (word order vs. intonational categories), the selection, as well as the manipulation of phonetic cues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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16 pages, 1310 KiB  
Article
Lexical Category and Downstep in Japanese
by Manami Hirayama, Hyun Kyung Hwang and Takaomi Kato
Languages 2022, 7(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010025 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
In pursuing the mapping between syntax and phonology/prosody, little attention has been paid to the kinds of syntactic information that can affect prosody. In this paper, we explore Japanese downstep, a process in phrasal phonology. What syntactic information affects downstep and what does [...] Read more.
In pursuing the mapping between syntax and phonology/prosody, little attention has been paid to the kinds of syntactic information that can affect prosody. In this paper, we explore Japanese downstep, a process in phrasal phonology. What syntactic information affects downstep and what does not? Specifically, do lexical categories affect downstep? We investigate the effects of nouns, adjectives, and verbs in different syntactic settings (e.g., [X1 [X2 N]], [[X1 X2] N], predicative X) through production experiments. We found that adjectives in [X1 [X2 N]] may block downstep, whereas adjectives in other structures as well as nouns and verbs generally do not block it. We analyze this phonological patterning as being derivative of an interaction between syntactic structures and lexical categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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25 pages, 2267 KiB  
Article
The Role of Prosody and Morphology in the Mapping of Information Structure onto Syntax
by Laura Colantoni and Liliana Sánchez
Languages 2021, 6(4), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040207 - 13 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3281
Abstract
The mapping of information structure onto morphology or intonation varies greatly crosslinguistically. Agglutinative languages, like Inuktitut or Quechua, have a rich morphological layer onto which discourse-level features are mapped but a limited use of intonation. Instead, English or Spanish lack grammaticalized morphemes that [...] Read more.
The mapping of information structure onto morphology or intonation varies greatly crosslinguistically. Agglutinative languages, like Inuktitut or Quechua, have a rich morphological layer onto which discourse-level features are mapped but a limited use of intonation. Instead, English or Spanish lack grammaticalized morphemes that convey discourse-level information but use intonation to a relatively large extent. We propose that the difference found in these two pairs of languages follows from a division of labor across language modules, such that two extreme values of the continuum of possible interactions across modules are available as well as combinations of morphological and intonational markers. At one extreme, in languages such as Inuktitut and Quechua, a rich set of morphemes with scope over constituents convey sentence-level and discourse-level distinctions, making the alignment of intonational patterns and information structure apparently redundant. At the other extreme, as in English and to some extent Spanish, a series of consistent alignments of PF and syntactic structure are required to distinguish sentence types and to determine the information value of a constituent. This results in a complementary distribution of morphology and intonation in these languages. In contact situations, overlap between patterns of module interaction are attested. Evidence from Quechua–Spanish and Inuktitut–English bilinguals supports a bidirectionality of crosslinguistic influence; intonational patterns emerge in non-intonational languages to distinguish sentence types, whereas morphemes or discourse particles emerge in intonational languages to mark discourse-level features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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27 pages, 716 KiB  
Article
Function Words at the Interface: A Two-Tier Approach
by Tina Bögel
Languages 2021, 6(4), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040197 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3393
Abstract
The distinction between function words and content words poses a challenge to theories of the syntax–prosody interface. On the one hand, function words are “ignored” by the mapping algorithms; that is, function words are not mapped to prosodic words. On the other hand, [...] Read more.
The distinction between function words and content words poses a challenge to theories of the syntax–prosody interface. On the one hand, function words are “ignored” by the mapping algorithms; that is, function words are not mapped to prosodic words. On the other hand, there are numerous accounts of function words which form prosodic words and can even be analysed as heads of larger prosodic units. Furthermore, function words seem to be a driving factor for the formation of prosodic structures in that they can largely be held accountable for the non-isomorphism between syntactic and prosodic constituency. This paper discusses these challenges with a focus on a particular function word, and the first-person nominative pronoun in Swabian, a Southern German dialect. By means of two corpus studies, it is shown that the pronoun occurs in two forms, the prosodic word [i:] and the enclitic [ə]. Depending on clause position and focus structure, the forms occur in complementary distribution. Occurrences of n-insertion allow for the establishment of a recursive prosodic word structure at the level of the phonological module. The findings support a new proposal in the form of a two-tier mapping approach to the interface between syntax and prosody. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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29 pages, 6754 KiB  
Article
Recursion and the Definition of Universal Prosodic Categories
by Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng and Laura J. Downing
Languages 2021, 6(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030125 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2414
Abstract
It is widely agreed that prosodic constituents should mirror syntactic constituents (unless high-ranking prosodic constraints interfere). Because recursion is a feature of syntactic representations, one expects recursion in prosodic representations as well. However, it is of current controversy what kinds of syntactic representation [...] Read more.
It is widely agreed that prosodic constituents should mirror syntactic constituents (unless high-ranking prosodic constraints interfere). Because recursion is a feature of syntactic representations, one expects recursion in prosodic representations as well. However, it is of current controversy what kinds of syntactic representation motivate prosodic recursion. In this paper, the use of Phonological Phrase recursion is reviewed in several case studies, chosen because prosodic recursion mostly does not reflect syntactic recursion as defined in current syntactic theory. We provide reanalyses that do not appeal to prosodic recursion (unless syntactically motivated), showing that Phonological Phrase recursion is not necessary to capture the relevant generalizations. The more restrictive use of prosodic recursion we argue for has the following conceptual advantages. It allows for more consistent cross-linguistic generalizations about the syntax–prosody mapping so that prosodic representations more closely reflect syntactic ones. It allows the fundamental syntactic distinctions between clause (and other phases) and phrase to be reflected in the prosodic representation, and it allows cross-linguistic generalizations to be made about the prosodic domain of intonational processes, such as downstep and continuation rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
27 pages, 539 KiB  
Article
Is Word-Level Recursion Actually Recursion?
by Taylor L. Miller and Hannah Sande
Languages 2021, 6(2), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020100 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3112
Abstract
There is a longstanding debate in the literature about if, and where, recursion occurs in prosodic structure. While there are clear cases of genuine recursion at the phrase level and above, there are very few convincing cases of word-level recursion. Most cases are—by [...] Read more.
There is a longstanding debate in the literature about if, and where, recursion occurs in prosodic structure. While there are clear cases of genuine recursion at the phrase level and above, there are very few convincing cases of word-level recursion. Most cases are—by definition—not recursive and instead best analyzed as different constituents (e.g., the Composite Group, Prosodic Word Group, etc.). We show that two convincing cases of prosodic word-level recursion can easily be reanalyzed without recursion if phonology and prosody are evaluated cyclically at syntactic phase boundaries. Our analysis combines phase-based spell-out and morpheme-specific subcategorization frames of Cophonologies by Phase with Tri-P Mapping prosodic structure building. We show that apparent word-level recursion is due to cyclic spell-out, and non-isomorphisms between syntactic and prosodic structure are due to morpheme-specific prosodic requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
24 pages, 7981 KiB  
Article
Recursive Prosody and the Prosodic Form of Compounds
by Junko Ito and Armin Mester
Languages 2021, 6(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020065 - 1 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2708
Abstract
This paper investigates the role recursive structures play in prosody. In current understanding, phonological phrasing is computed by a general syntax–prosody mapping algorithm. Here, we are interested in recursive structure that arises in response to morphosyntactic structure that needs to be mapped. We [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the role recursive structures play in prosody. In current understanding, phonological phrasing is computed by a general syntax–prosody mapping algorithm. Here, we are interested in recursive structure that arises in response to morphosyntactic structure that needs to be mapped. We investigate the types of recursive structures found in prosody, specifically: For a prosodic category κ, besides the adjunctive type of recursion κ[κ x], κ[x κ], is there also the coordinative type κ[κ κ]? Focusing on the prosodic forms of compounds in two typologically rather different languages, Danish and Japanese, we encounter three types of recursive word structures: coordinative ω[ω ω], left-adjunctive ω[f ω], right-adjunctive ω[ω f] and the strictly layered compound structure ω[f f]. In addition, two kinds of coordinative φ-compounds are found in Japanese, one with a non-recursive (strictly layered) structure φ[ω ω], a mono-phrasal compound consisting of two words, and one with coordinative recursion φ[φ φ], a bi-phrasal compound. A cross-linguistically rare type of post-syntactic compound has this biphrasal structure, a fact to be explained by its sentential origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
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