A1: 2nd Phase (Fanselow, Féry)

Phonology and Syntax of Focusing and Topicalization

This phase of the project is completed. It was in progress from 01.07.2007 until 30.06.2011 ]


The purpose of A1 is the identification of an optimal model for the interaction of syntax and phonology in the context of the expression of information structure. Ideally, this will allow us to understand the way syntax influences the prosodic component of grammar and vice versa, as well as the actual composition of the means of expressing information structure both universally and in a given language.

In its first period, the project emphasized the expression of focus, with a few excursions into general aspects of prosodic organization and the expression of topicality, and the main languages of investigation were German and Japanese. Our results have led us to question certain assumptions of standard grammatical models. For example, several phenomena were identified and described in which syntactic structure and operations seem influenced by prosody, which is quite unexpected in the traditional Y-model, in which syntax always feeds phonology but not vice versa. Ample evidence for recursion in prosodic structure raises the question as to the validity of the Strict Layer Hypothesis for prosodic phrasing. In order to account for these problems, some theoretical proposals were made.

Based on such findings from the first period, the project’s emphasis in the second period will be laid on hierarchical aspects of information structure. To achieve the goals to be described below, the project will continue the systematic examination of the prosodic structure (pitch range, integration, etc.), as well as investigate several entirely new questions. Special attention will be paid to the recursion and embedding of information structure. Relevant questions include, among others: whether and how far information structure can be embedded; how prosodic and syntactic recursions are related, what the best grammatical model that explains the syntactic and prosodic recursions in a parallel manner is; and how such a model explains the recursion of information structure (if any).

Full description 2nd phase SFB 632 / A1 (extract from the application)  pdficon small

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Gisbert Fanselow, University of Potsdam  contact

Prof. Dr. Caroline Féry, University of Potsdam, now: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  world


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