The Prosody of Topicalization

  • Féry C
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Because of the elusive nature of pitch accents and prosodic phrasing, the role of prosody has been neglected too often in the description of the syntax-phonology interface. This paper shows that the syntactic structure of German sentences is shaped by the formation of prosodic phrases, and that many puzzles are solved if prosodic phrasing and accents are systematically considered in formal grammar. Some types of topicalization, like contrastive topicalization and split constituents, are motivated by the need to separate two accents which would be adjacent in an unmarked word order. The sentence has now two different intonation phrases, with the fronted constituent bearing an accent equal in strength to the preverbal focus one. The proposal is couched in an optimality theoretic framework, allowing direct interactions between prosody and syntax. 1

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  • Caroline Féry

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