The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 2/22 - Kenyon Branan

Speaker: Kenyon Branan (MIT)
Title: A purely prosodic approach to intervention
Date: Monday, February 22nd
Time: 5-6:30
Place: 32-D831

The simple intervention effect can be charactarized as a ban on wh-words appearing to the right of words bearing focus. I will argue that simple intervention effects arise as the result of conflicting prosodic requirements, and that the most well attested repair, leftward scrambling of the wh-element, results in a better-formed prosodic structure. I will show that the simple intervention effect is a particular instance of a more general phenomenon, looking primarily at Japanese and Korean. I will also show that this approach predicts that languages with different prosodic requirements on focus-bearing items should not have intervention effects. I look at Egyptian Arabic, which has all of the syntactic ingredients necessary to produce the intervention effect, but nonetheless does not. I show that the prosody of focus in Egyptian Arabic leads us to expect this