Towards a Phonological Characterisation of Unacusatives in English
Durán, José Manuel
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In the last decades, the syntax-phonology interface has attracted the attention of both generativists (Miller et al 1997, Pullum & Zwicky 1988, Selkirk 1995, 2001) and systemicists (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004, Halliday & Greaves 2008). Scholars within both frameworks have posited the existence of a correlation from syntax to phonology so that every structural syntactic property must have a reflection on a structural phonological property. However, to my knowledge, there is still little empirical work that analyses the syntaxphonology interface at sentence level. The aim of the present study is to provide wide-scale empirical evidence that supports the generativists / systemicists view of the syntax-phonology interface. The study addresses the phonological characterisation of bare unaccusative / unergative constructions, with the aim of capturing the phonological correlation of the syntactic differentiation between unaccusatives and unergatives (Chomsky 1981, Levin & Rappaport Hovav 1995). Additionally, the study provides wide-scale empirical data to contribute to the characterisation of the phonology of English unaccusative constructions and to contrast the phonology of unaccusative constructions with that of unergative constructions. The corpus for the analysis has been drawn from non-scripted utterances produced by 87 native speakers of American English in response to visual stimuli. The analysis follows the theoretical framework of the Autosegmental Metrical Model (Pierrehumbert 1980, Beckman & Pierrehumbert 1986, Beckman et al 2005, Ladd 2008).