LINGUIST List 15.3453

Thu Dec 09 2004

Diss: Phonology/Syntax: Kahnemuyipour: 'The Syntax...'

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        1.    Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, The Syntax of Sentential Stress



Message 1: The Syntax of Sentential Stress

Date: 07-Dec-2004
From: Arsalan Kahnemuyipour <akahnemusyr.edu>
Subject: The Syntax of Sentential Stress


Institution: University of Toronto
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Arsalan Kahnemuyipour

Dissertation Title: The Syntax of Sentential Stress

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
                            Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Diane Massam
Elizabeth Cowper
Keren D. Rice

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores the nature of sentential stress, how it is assigned
and its interaction with information structure. The central thesis is that
the position of sentential or nuclear stress, the element with the highest
prominence in the sentence, is determined syntactically and that
cross-linguistic differences in this respect follow from syntactic
variations. In particular, it is proposed that the Sentential Stress Rule
applies in a phase-based manner (Chomsky 2000, 2001 and subsequent work)
and assigns stress to the highest element in the spelled out constituent.
This proposal provides a systematic way of accounting for a wide range of
cross-linguistic facts, with data taken from Persian, English, German,
Eastern Armenian and some Romance languages. An additional rule, namely the
Focus Stress Rule, is proposed to handle the interaction between sentential
stress and information structure. The Focus Stress Rule, which is also
proposed to apply in a phase-based manner, ensures that a focussed
constituent receives the highest clausal prominence in languages which mark
focus prosodically. It is shown that sentential stress is determined in an
interplay between the default Sentential Stress Rule and the Focus Stress
Rule. It is argued that the relationship between syntax and phonology is
unidirectional, always from syntax to phonology, thereby arguing against
syntactic phenomena being triggered by phonological or prosodic motivations
(contra Zubizarreta 1998). It is also shown that, from a conceptual and
empirical perspective, the proposed account of the interaction between
focus and sentential stress is preferable to the theories based on the
focus projection algorithm (Selkirk 1995).



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