College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Linguistics Colloquium: The (non)recursivity of prosody in Xhosa. a talk by Will Bennett, University of Calgary.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Robinson Hall A, #447

One of the famous hallmarks of syntactic structure is recursion: phrases are embedded inside other phrases. Some current theoretical frameworks extend this property of grammar to phonology, in the form of recursive prosodic structure. However, the limited nature of the evidence makes recursive prosodic structure tricky to support or refute. Prosodic phrases are typically evident because of things that happen at their edges, rather than from clear indicators of internal structure. This talk aims to bring new new data to this question, by studying Xhosa, a Bantu language from South Africa. In Xhosa, the penultimate syllable of a phrase is lengthened. We examine the durational properties of these lengthened syllables, to see if they show evidence for multiple degrees of lengthening, suggestive of recursive phrase structure.

Hosted by GMU Linguistics Society.

Sponsored by Linguistics Program, Department of English.

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