[PLing] talk by Byron Ahn (Princeton), Th May , 16th, 14:15-15:45

Daniel Büring daniel.buring at univie.ac.at
Sun May 12 10:41:13 CEST 2019

The department of linguistics invites you to a talk this Thursday afternoon:

Byron Ahn (Princeton University)
*_Semantics-Prosody (Mis)Alignment and the Role of Syntax_*
Th May, 16th, 14:15-15:45 Seminarraum 8, Sensengasse 3a, 1090 Wien*_
Prosodic marking of focus (p-Focus) and focus semantics (s-Focus) are 
known to be deeply related. In a stress-based language like English, the 
general maxim is understood to be that p-Focus must manifest within the 
domain of semantic focus (e.g., Halliday 1967, Rooth 1992, Selkirk 1995, 
Truckenbrodt 1995, Krifka 2004, Büring 2016). It is for this reason that 
“dogs CHASED cats”, with p-Focus on “chased”, cannot have an 
interpretation where alternatives to “dogs” are considered (i.e., with 
s-Focus on “dogs”). In this way, the location of p-Focus and s-Focus 
“align”. This sort of alignment data has been used to argue for the 
syntactic representation of focus (e.g., Jackendoff 1972, Selkirk 1984).

This talk explores a set of counterexamples to this generally robust 
maxim: cases of semantics-prosody focus misalignments, where p-Focus 
manifests outside the domain of s-Focus. An English example of this is 
“BOY can she sing beautifully”, where the s-Focus concerns degree of 
beauty but p-Focus is on “boy”. Misalignment cases like this can be 
found regularly, and across languages. We argue that these misalignments 
suggest the need for a more complex post-syntactic derivation for the 
placement of p-Focus. Moreover, misalignments furnish a new argument in 
favor of syntactic representation of focus; the cases where 
misalignments arise and how they are resolved is influenced by the 
syntactic derivation.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Daniel Büring	     Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
Universität Wien	             Sensengasse 3a, Raum O6.05
1090 Wien/Vienna (Austria)           +43 1    4277 41710
fax (Sekretariat): +43 1 4277 9417   +43 664  60277-41710
homepage.univie.ac.at/daniel.buring/ daniel.buring at univie.ac.at

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