When prosody follows syntax: verbal stems in Czech

Variant title
Když prozodie sleduje syntax: verbální kmeny v češtině
Source document: Linguistica Brunensia. 2016, vol. 64, iss. 1, pp. 163-185
  • ISSN
    1803-7410 (print)
    2336-4440 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
This paper examines syntactic and prosodic constituency within a verbal stem in Czech. Working in the frameworks of Nanosyntax and Strict CV, I argue that syntax-to-prosody mapping is direct to the extent that prosodic domains correspond to particular syntactic constituents. On the basis of two vocalic alternations, namely vowel-zero alternations in verbal prefixes and roots and alternations in vowel length in roots and theme suffixes, I show that the perfective verbal stem represented by a linear string prefix-root-theme is parsed into three prosodic constituents, [prefix-root], [root-theme] and [prefix-root-theme]. These prosodic domains correspond to three syntactic constituents: VP and a lower and higher projection of the theme suffix respectively. The crucial point of the syntactic analysis is that the prefix undergoes phrasal movement: it is generated next to the root in VP and when the theme is added, it moves to its specifier. In the [prefix-root] constituent, the vocalization pattern of the prefix is established. The constituents comprising theme suffixes are prosodic domains in which a general rule (called the infinitival template) operates; this rule in effect lengthens underlying long vowels in monosyllabic infinitives.
  • This paper is dedicated to Petr Karlík, a great teacher who got me to do linguistics. Thank you, Petr! I also thank to Czech Science Foundation who supported grant no. 14-04215S (Morphophonology of Czech: Alternations in Vowel Length). This article is one of its outcomes.
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