Right dislocation, defocus, and variations in syntax-prosody mapping
Ka-Fai Yip, Xuetong Yuan
June 2024

This study bridges the notion of (de)focus with the prosodic phrasing of right dislocation (RD) and its variations. We show that RD in Cantonese and Mandarin displays a syntax-prosody mismatch: while having a biclausal structure (2 CPs), RD consists of only one intonational phrase (1 ι). We propose a novel Optimality-Theoretic analysis and attribute the mismatch to the obligatory defocus/anti-focus nature of the RD elements, which cannot receive head prominence and fail to be mapped onto another ι, triggering prosodic rephrasing with the preceding main chunks. It represents a view where the prosodic role of defocus is distinguished from that of focus. The proposed view further predicts a factorial typology of the syntax-prosody mapping of RD, which may be always mismatched (e.g., Cantonese or Mandarin), always isomorphic (e.g., French or Catalan), or dependent on the (de)focus status of RD elements (e.g., Japanese or Mongolian).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/008179
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Phonological Externalization volume 9 (2024), 89-112. Hisao Tokizaki (ed.), Sapporo University.
keywords: defocus rephrasing, right dislocation, syntax-prosody mapping, intonational phrase, cantonese, mandarin, syntax, phonology
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