Markus Pöchtrager
University of Vienna

2. Wednesday January 10, 2024: "Phonology goes Syntax"

Markus Pöchtrager (University of Vienna)
To what extent do the individual modules of grammar share a  similar architecture? In this talk we will ask that question about syntax and phonology. While scholars like Bromberger & Halle (1989) claim that those two domains of grammar are very different from each other, other strands of research have argued that there are substantial parallels between the two. This hypothesis is commonly referred to as "Structural Analogy" and championed by people like J. Anderson (1992) and in frameworks like Dependency Phonology (Anderson & Ewen 1987) and Government Phonology (Kaye, Lowenstamm & Vergnaud 1985, 1990).

Some parallels that have been pointed out are relatively obvious and potentially very superficial or misleading. (E.g., that short vowels in English are like transitive verbs in that both need a certain something following them: An object in the case of transitive verbs; a consonant or another syllable in the case of short vowels, thus <sit>, <city> but *<si>.) One of the central questions (if not *the* central question), however, is whether phonology has hierarchical structure that is comparable to what we see in syntax. (More precisely, whether we find recursive hierarchical structure.)

In this talk I will focus on the “lower” levels of phonological constituency to show what kind of evidence we find for (recursive) hierarchical structure. Neeleman & van de Koot (2006) point out (correctly, I believe) that any argument in favour of parallels between the two modules must not only show that phonology *can* be done with hierarchical structures, but why it *must* be. Syntax needs hierarchical structures to express asymmetries, and similar asymmetries in phonology can be found between elements, i.e. the successors of phonological features. Asymmetries between the elements I and U (Pöchtrager 2009, 2015) seem to be particularly wide-spread, and we will see how a syntax-inspired phonological model can make sense of them in various phenomena across different languages such as Mandarin, Japanese, English, Finnish, Turkish etc.

Anderson, John. 1992. Linguistic Representation: Structural Analogy and Stratification. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Anderson, John M. & Colin J. Ewen. 1987. Principles of Dependency Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bromberger, Sylvain & Morris Halle. 1989. Why Phonology is different. Linguistic Inquiry 20. 51—70.
Kaye, Jonathan, Jean Lowenstamm & Jean-Roger Vergnaud 1985. The internal structure of phonological representations: a theory of Charm and Government. Phonology Yearbook 2. 305—328
Kaye, Jonathan, Jean Lowenstamm & Jean-Roger Vergnaud 1990. Constituent structure and government in phonology. Phonology Yearbook 7. 193—231.
Neeleman, Ad & J. van de Koot. 2006. On syntactic and phonological representations. Lingua 116. 1524–1552.
Pöchtrager, Markus A. 2009. Diphthong, e know thyself. Binding in Phonology. Paper presented at the 17th Manchester Phonology Meeting, University of Manchester, 28–30 May 2009.
Pöchtrager, Markus A. 2015. Binding in Phonology. In Henk van Riemsdijk & Marc van Oostendorp (eds.), Representing Structure in Phonology and Syntax, 255– 275. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.