Syntax at the PF interface: Prosodic mapping, linear order, and deletion

Date of Completion

January 2007


Language, Linguistics




The goal of this dissertation is to investigate the nature of the interaction between syntax and phonology with the goal of achieving an explanation of a number of facts that have remained problematic for purely syntactic approaches. More specifically, two main issues will be examined in this dissertation: the distribution of null complementizer clauses and Right Node Raising constructions. These issues are similar in that they both have been subject to purely syntactic analyses, which I show face serious problems. I will argue instead that these phenomena can be best analyzed in terms of the PF component. The gist of the analysis of the first issue will be that the distribution of null complementizer clauses is governed by the requirements of the syntax-phonology mapping process—in particular, the requirement that boundaries of an intonational phrase be properly aligned with those of the syntactic category to which it is assigned. With respect to the second issue, a PF deletion analysis will be argued for, providing several arguments that what is involved in Right Node Raising constructions is an operation of the PF component, not of the syntax proper. To support these proposals, several novel generalizations regarding the position and the prosodic property of the shared material will be proposed based on cross-linguistic evidence. In addition, implications of the current analysis for related constructions such as across-the-board movement constructions as well as the general architecture of the grammar and the syntax-phonology interface will also be discussed. ^