Kentner & Franz (2018) – No evidence for prosodic effects on the syntactic encoding of complement clauses in German

No evidence for prosodic effects on the syntactic encoding of complement clauses in German
Gerrit Kentner, Isabelle Franz
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November 2018
Does linguistic rhythm matter to syntax, and if so, what kinds of syntactic decisions are susceptible to rhythm? By means of two recall-based sentence production experiments and two corpus studies – one on spoken and one on written language – we investigated whether linguistic rhythm aff^Kects the choice between introduced and un-introduced complement clauses in German. Apart from the presence or absence of the complementiser dass (`that’), these two sentence types di^Kffer with respect to the position of the tensed verb (verb-^Lfinal/ verb-second). Against our predictions, that were based on previously reported rhythmic e^Kffects on the use of the optional complementiser `that’ in English, the experiments fail to obtain compelling evidence for rhythmic/prosodic influences on the structure of complement clauses in German. An overview of pertinent studies showing rhythmic influences on syntactic encoding suggests these eff^Kects to be generally restricted to syntactic domains smaller than a clause. We assume that, in the course of language production, initially, clause level syntactic projections are speci^Lfied; their specifi^Lcation is in fact the prerequisite for phonological encoding to start. Consequently, prosodic eff^Kects may only touch upon the lower level categories that are to be integrated into the clausal projection, but not upon the syntactic makeup of the higher order projection itself.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004325
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Glossa
keywords: linguistic rhythm, meter, metrical structure, syntax-phonology interface, language production, v2, complement clause, stress, syntax, phonology
Posted in Research (e.g. papers, books)