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Prosody-syntax-focus Interface: Intonational Differences

Sun-Ah Jun
University of California, Los Angeles
February 16, 2018 - 3:30pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Greenberg Room (460-126)

This talk presents intonational data illustrating the interface between prosody, especially prosodic phrasing, and syntax and focus. Prosodic phrasing refers to a grouping of words in an utterance, delivering information on syntactic structure or the prominence relationship among the words, and is often defined by intonation. It has been known that prosodic structure, though not isomorphic to syntactic structure, is closely tied to syntactic structure by aligning the edges of a prosodic unit with those of a syntactic constituent (Selkirk 1986, 2000, 2011; Nespor & Vogel 1986/2007; Truckenbrodt 1999; Samek-Lodovici 2005). It is also well-known that contrastive or corrective focus affects prosodic phrasing in various languages, overriding the default prosodic phrasing of an utterance produced in broad focus condition. In these languages, a prosodic boundary is often inserted right before or after a focused word or phrase (e.g., Korean, Mongolian, Northern Bizkaian Basque, Kolkata Bengali).

So far, researchers have focused on the presence or absence of a prosodic boundary regardless of whether the prosodic phrasing is triggered by syntax or focus. This talk will show that prosodic phrasing is marked by different phonetic and phonological, especially intonational, properties depending on its function, focus- or syntax-marking, based on data from two dialects of Korean: the intonational dialect of Seoul Korean and the lexical pitch accent dialect of Yanbian Korean, spoken in northeastern China, near North Korea. The results will be further discussed by referring to the typological difference in prominence marking across languages.

Event Type: 
Linguistics Colloquium