The Interaction of Linearization and Prosody: Evidence from Pronoun Postposing in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic

Abstract

This paper presents a prosodic account of weak object pronoun postposing in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic (Chung & McCloskey 1987; Duffield 1995; Adger 1997, 2007; Doyle 1998, 2002; McCloskey 1999). I show that weak object pronouns can be analyzed as second-position clitics in the Spell-Out domain of the vP phase (Chomsky 2000), and that the patterns can be accounted for using violable constraint interaction under an Optimality Theoretic (OT, Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004) framework. By assuming a phasal Multiple Spell-Out model where potential candidates for surface linearized form are evaluated by a single ranked constraint hierarchy at each phase, “normal” word order can be altered to fulfill prosodic requirements when prosodic constraints outrank constraints on linearization. I propose that this occurs in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Weak pronominal objects in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic occupy different positions in the sentence as compared to full DP or strong pronominal objects: for example, full DPs and strong pronouns precede an adverbial or complement phrase as in (1)a, while weak pronouns follow, either medially, as in (1)b, or sentence-finally, as in (1)c:

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@inproceedings{Elfner2008TheIO, title={The Interaction of Linearization and Prosody: Evidence from Pronoun Postposing in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic}, author={Emily Elfner and Kyle Brian Johnson and Lisa Selkirk and Ellen Woolford and David Adger and Michael Carney and M{\'a}ire N{\'i} Chios{\'a}in and Adam Werle}, year={2008} }