Prosody and Information Structure

Angelika Kratzer – University of Massachusetts
Lisa Selkirk – University of Massachusetts
Course time: Monday/Wednesday 9:00-10:50 am
2306 Mason Hall

See Course Description

Relying on recent theoretical and cross-linguistic work, the course will begin by clarifying the semantic and pragmatic properties of information structure that natural languages choose to represent in one way or other – syntactically, prosodically, or lexically. The emphasis will be on the representation of discourse-old versus discourse-new, various types of contrasts, and various types of topicality. We will then explore how different languages exploit morphological, syntactic, or prosodic formats of representation to express information structural distinctions.  Given the expertise of the instructors, the prosodic reflexes of information structure and their various sources in the grammar will get the most attention in this course, but, in line with the theme of this Summer Institute, we will also document that prosody is just one possible way of representing information structural properties in the languages of the world:  there is no necessary connection between prosody and information structure. Throughout the course, we will probe into possible grammatical architectures that might be responsible for the observed range of realizations for information structural properties. Pre-requisites: Graduate student level familiarity with phonology, syntax, and semantics.


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