Prosody as syntactic evidence: The view from Mayan
Justin Royer
October 2020

A subset of Mayan languages feature “prosodic allomorphy”, a phenomenon involving morphological alternations at certain prosodic boundaries. In previous work, Henderson (2012) proposes that prosodic allomorphs in K’iche’ provide evidence for non-isomorphisms in the correspondence between syntax and prosody. In this paper, I argue against this view by building on a related extraposition analysis in Aissen 1992. I contribute novel data from prosodic allomorphy from two Mayan languages, Chuj and K’iche’, and show that upon further inspection, there is strong evidence for a syntactic analysis different from the one assumed in Henderson 2012. The new syntax leads to several predictions that are borne out, and crucially, does not force us to mismatches, allowing us to maintain a one-to-one correspondence between syntax and prosody. By taking apparent instances of mismatches as evidence that the syntactic analysis must be revisited, the proposal thus aligns with work such as Steedman 1991, Wagner 2005, 2010, and Hirsch and Wagner 2015. In the last section of the paper, I discuss how the proposal could be restated within phase theoretic approaches to the interface between syntax and phonology, concluding that Mayan prosodic allomorphy poses an interesting challenge for such accounts.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005199
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Natural Language & Linguistic Theory
keywords: prosody, syntax-phonology, mayan, extraposition, phases, morphology, syntax, phonology
previous versions: v1 [May 2020]
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