Joshua Viau and Ann Bunger
Children acquiring any language must develop an understanding both of how event components are encoded in verb meanings and of the argument structure of those verbs, that is, how the participants of the event that each verb describes map onto linguistic arguments. This chapter begins with an overview of the major issues in the study of argument structure, including a consideration of the balance of power between verbs and constructions as it pertains to the encoding of thematic relations and a comparison of theoretical approaches with an eye toward learnability. The core of the chapter consists of a comprehensive synthesis of the current state of developmental research on argument structure.
James A. Walker
The suprasegmental or prosodic features of African American English (AAE) have received little attention. Adopting a theory of prosodic phonology developed to address questions about the syntax-prosody interface, I use the variationist method to examine the variable occurrence of two grammatical features (the copula and verbal –s), and their conditioning by grammatical, phonological and prosodic factors, in two diaspora varieties considered to be representative of Early AAE. Prosodic boundaries can be shown to be significant for contracted and zero variants of the copula, providing some evidence for the interpretation that they are strategies for reducing phonological complexity. In contrast, prosodic structure plays no role in conditioning the occurrence of verbal –s. I suggest that the differences in the significance of prosodic factors stems from differences in the morphological status of the two grammatical variables.
Gunnar Ólafur Hansson
This chapter gives a brief overview of current approaches within the generative tradition to modelling the morphology–phonology interface, with particular attention to the interaction of phonology with inflectional morphology. Critical questions include whether morphological and phonological derivations are interleaved, as in cyclic or stratal models, whether the phonological grammar can reference relations among output forms within the same paradigm, and whether the notion of inflectional paradigm has any status as such in phonological theory. A key issue is the extent to which patterns of morphological exponence can be sensitive to the phonological well-formedness of the eventual output form, as when allomorph selection is viewed as (phonological) output optimization. Empirical topics surveyed include construction-specific phonology, cyclicity effects, paradigm levelling, paradigm anti-homophony effects, phonologically motivated paradigm gaps, and phonologically conditioned suppletive allomorphy.
C. Orhan Orgun and Andrew Dolbey
This article describes the morphology–phonology interface in the context of a theory of Sign-Based Morphology. It specifically develops Paradigmatic Sign-Based Morphology (PSBM). PSBM handles morphological relatedness effects by imposing grammatical relations that hold between certain morphologically related forms. A discussion of signs in PSBM model is presented, after which the organization of the morphological component of a sign-based grammar is given. Next, the emergence of cyclic phonological effects from paradigmatic constraints is shown. The article then addresses a wide range of phenomena that pose problems to the paradigmatic-correspondence approach. It proposes modifications to the approach that the challenges necessitate and demonstrates how PSBM incorporates those necessary modifications. The article illustrates that apparent cyclic and noncyclic effects may coexist in a language. It also reveals that paradigmatic effects are not restricted to paradigm uniformity.
Jennifer J. Venditti, Kikuo Maekawa, and Mary E. Beckman
This article explains that Japanese uses a variety of prosodic mechanisms to mark focal prominence, including local pitch range expansion, prosodic restructuring to set off the focal constituent, postfocal subordination, and prominence-lending boundary pitch movements, but (notably) not manipulation of accent. It also discusses the Japanese intonation system within the Autosegmental-Metrical (AM) model of intonational phonology. The article then describes four phenomena that are the locus of lively discussion and controversy in the further development of this AM framework account, before addressing the larger implications which these phenomena have for the development of a tenable general theory of the role of prosody in the marking of discourse prominence. There is a rich variety of prominence-marking mechanisms even when morphosyntactic mechanisms such as scrambling are ignored. The generalization across English and Japanese languages predicts that there should also be complementary patterns of focus projection within the VP in transitive clauses.
This article provides a critical review of the phonological theories that deal with segmental phenomena. It also presents data and arguments that constitute a challenge to these theories and posit the need for considering another way of creating phonological domains from syntactic structure. The article specifically offers an overview of the most relevant theoretical approaches to phrasal and prosodic phonology, namely Direct Reference Theory, Prosodic Hierarchy Theory (PHT), Minimal Indirect Reference model, theories of phonological phrasing, and multiple spell-out and Precompilation Theory. It then devotes itself to a presentation of data that pose problems for these theories and suggests the need for an alternative proposal. If the existence of PHT were proven to be true, one interpretation of the availability of two strategies for mapping phonological constituents from syntactic structure could be that the creation of phonological constituency in PHT terms is a development which simplifies the creation of phonological constituency.