The postsyntactic derivation and its phonological reflexes

Marjorie Pak, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is an investigation into the nature of the syntax-phonology interface. The phenomena under consideration here are phrasal phonological alternations, which I define as phonological rules that apply across words but not across the board. I develop a model of the interface in which: (i) phonological rules work directly with spelled-out chunks of syntactic structure (i.e. cycles or phases); and (ii) within each spellout domain, a series of linearization procedures create ‘sub-units’ of various sizes, which serve as domains for different kinds of phonological rules. The proposal is illustrated with in-depth case studies from Huave and Luganda, along with data from other languages. A key feature of this model is that phrasal rules are directly constrained by the underlying syntax, but are also allowed a certain amount of variability—e.g. there is a class of ‘late-linearization’ rules that may merge domains in fast speech or split them apart in slow speech. We will see that in languages with multiple phrasal rules, like Luganda and French, these rule domains may be different sizes and may even reverse their containment relationships (contra the predictions of Prosodic Hierarchy Theory), but will ultimately be constrained by a common set of syntactic factors. Comparisons with other proposed models of the syntax-phonology interface are addressed in the course of the discussion.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Pak, Marjorie, "The postsyntactic derivation and its phonological reflexes" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3328631.