Minimalism and the syntax-phonology interface
Heather Newell, Craig Sailor
November 2023

Although the literature on the syntax-phonology interface is vast, there have been almost no attempts within this literature to explicitly apply Minimalist reasoning in pursuit of a general theory. This chapter is an attempt to address this lacuna, rather than an exhaustive survey of existing work on the interface. In what follows, we attempt to characterize, in broadest strokes, what a Minimalist theory of the syntax-phonology interface should look like, emphasizing a set of design principles that we take to be essential for such a theory. In particular, we adopt the basic Minimalist principles that the architecture of grammar is modular and “feed-forward" (i.e., it is organized in an inverted Y-model), and that these distinct modules necessarily work with discrete, mutually unintelligible alphabets (i.e., they obey Strict Modularity). When combined with the methodological and ontological economy that comes with the Strong Minimalist Thesis, these premises – often mentioned, but rarely applied rigorously – impose strict conditions on what might qualify as a Minimalist interface theory. Weighed against this metric, we argue, even mainstream approaches to the interface come up short. This chapter will be of interest to both syntacticians and phonologists working at the interface, particularly those concerned with modularity, ellipsis, vocabulary-insertion, phonological domains of computation, and the Prosodic Hierarchy.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007602
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in the The Cambridge Handbook of Minimalism and Its Applications (E. Leivada & K.K. Grohmann &, eds.)
keywords: pf interface, minimalism, ellipsis, hiatus resolution, tone spreading, prosodic hierarchy, modularity, cvcv phonology, morphology, syntax, phonology
previous versions: v1 [June 2023]
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