[Author Login]
Title:On Focus, Prosody, and word order in Argentinean Spanish. A Minimalist OT Account
Authors:Christoph Gabriel
Comment:In: Revista Virtual de Estudos da Linguagem, Special issue 4 'Optimality-theoretic Syntax', 183-222.
Abstract:During the last decade, several proposals have been made for modeling focus-induced word order variation in Spanish, both in derivational and in optimality-theoretical frameworks. Furthermore, empirical studies have been carried out in order to capture the prosodic correlates of focus marking, most of them couched in the Autosegmental-Metrical (AM) model of intonational phonology. Interestingly, recent syntactic and prosodic studies rely on different assumptions regarding the acceptability of a structure in a given context: While most phonologists assume that a narrowly focused XP can be prosodically marked in situ ([F S]VO, SV[F dOiO), most syntacticians predict movement of the presupposed material to a higher position, yielding prosodically unmarked structures with final nuclear stress (VO[F S], SViO[F dO]). Formal approaches that integrate pragmatically motivated features correctly predict instances of focus-induced word order, but run into problems when a given focus-background articulation corresponds to different possible output forms, in other words when optionality is at play. Classical Optimality Theory (OT) is no exception in this respect, given that its fixed constraint hierarchy allows for only one favored candidate. In this paper, I concentrate on focus marking in two varieties of Argentinean Spanish, which differ from other Spanish varieties in terms of their overall prosodic shape and the speakers' preferences for certain syntactic structures. I argue that different syntactic and phonological strategies of focus marking can be accounted for by combining Chomsky's (2000, 2001) target/probe approach with the model of Stochastic OT (Boersma/Hayes 2001). My proposal is supported by empirical data stemming from recordings made with 50 speakers from Buenos Aires and Neuquén.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1