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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The prosodic word (a.k.a. phonological word, or p-word) is a constituent that references morphological information in a generalized manner. Its relevance across languages is evidenced in requirements on the minimal permissible size/weight of phonologically free units, and in restrictions and processes referencing a domain greater than the syllable or foot, but smaller than a prosodic phrase. Typological research has found that languages actually reference multiple different kinds of p-words (or none at all) in ways that are problematic for predictions of several models of phonology. These alternative approaches treat p-words as language-particular, specific properties of individual phonological rules or constraints. They therefore open up expanded empirical investigations on p-word diagnostics and alignments within larger prosodic units in ways that recognize the diachronic dynamics and typological diversity of this domain. This chapter discusses the competing definitions, diagnostics, and theoretical issues surrounding the p-word, as well as variation across genealogically diverse languages.

Keywords: phonological word, prosodic word, prosodic phrase, phonologically free unit, domain, syllable, foot, typology, alignment, phonological constraints

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