Prosodic phrasing and attachment preferences

  • Jun S
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Abstract

The attachment of a relative clause (RC) has been found to differ across languages when its head noun is a complex NP. One attempt to explain the attachment differences is the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis (IPH) proposed by Fodor (1998, 2002). The goal of this paper is to show how the default phrasing of a sentence (explicit prosody), defined phonologically, differs across seven languages (English, Greek, Spanish, French, Farsi, Japanese, and Korean), and how the prosodic phrasing of a sentence in each language, both default and nondefault, matches the interpretation of RC attachment by individual speakers. Observed tendencies show that there is a direct relationship between the prosodic phrasing and the interpretation of RC attachment, strongly supporting the IPH. In addition, the paper discusses the status of default phrasing and the factors affecting the default phrasing, including rhythmic and syntactic factors and their interactions.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attachment
  • Default phrasing
  • Focus
  • Implicit prosody hypothesis
  • Prosody

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Authors

  • Sun Ah Jun

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