Phase theory and prosodic spellout: The case of verbs

Angelika Kratzer
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
In this article we will explore the consequences of adopting recent proposals by Chomsky, according to which the syntactic derivation proceeds in terms of phases. The notion of phase – through the associated notion of spellout – allows for an insightful theory of the fact that syntactic constituents receive default phrase stress not across the board, but as a function of yet-to-be-explicated conditions on their syntactic context. We will see that the phonological evi- dence requires us to modify somewhat the theory of which functional categories actually define a phase. Patterns of default, syntax-determined, phrase stress are argued to result from a prosodic spellout requiring the highest phrase in the spellout domain to correspond to a major prosodic phrase in phonological representation, and carry major phrase stress.
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