Wh-prosody, locality, and lexical pitch accent in wh-in-situ languages

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In this dissertation, I investigate how prosody interacts with wh-scope in wh-in-situ languages, focusing on Japanese and Korean. In addition to this question, I also discuss why there is so much variation in the prosodic realization of wh-scope in Japanese and Korean, which is relevant to the main research question. In order to address these questions, I also clarify the accent classes and the prosodic structure of Gyeongsang (Daegu and Busan) Korean because the contrast between accented and unaccented classes and the prosodic structure of each language is crucial for the discussion of the research questions. First, I show that the final-accented lexical pitch accent class, which has been claimed to exist in the native Gyeongsang lexicon by researchers such as Kenstowicz and Sohn (1997) and Jun et al. (2006), is in fact an unaccented class. My claim is supported by the tone interaction between nouns and enclitic particles and phrasal prosody. The absence of a final-accented class in the native lexicon is also made plausible by the historical Gyeongsang Accent Shift proposed by Ramsey (1978). I also show that loanwords serve to fill the gap created by the accent shift because in loanwords, pitch accent assignment depends on syllable weight (Chung 2000; Lee 2009, among others), so that loanwords with final heavy syllables end up supplying the lexicon with a true final-accented class. The prosodic structure of Gyeongsang Korean based on the autosegmental-metrical framework (see Ladd 1996/2008) further supports my analysis. Next, I discuss the variation in wh-prosody in Japanese and Korean. I claim that wh-in-situ languages use the lowest possible prosodic phrase level in the prosodic hierarchy to realize wh-prosody. I show that in addition to the accentedness/unaccentedess of wh-words as posited by Kuroda (2005/2013) and Hwang (2011a,b), the parameter [+/- multiword AP] (Igarashi 2012, 2014) for each language is required to determine which prosodic phrase level can be used. Finally, I come back to my main research question. It has been claimed that prosody can override wh-islands in Japanese (and Korean) (Deguchi and Kitagawa 2002; Ishihara 2003; Hwang 2011a, 2015, among others). I show that the traditional claim that Japanese is sensitive to wh-islands (Nishigauchi 1990; Watanabe 1992) is correct through a perception experiment with Osaka Japanese speakers. My data also suggest that what has been claimed to be ambiguity between yes/no (polar) and wh-questions in Japanese (and Korean) is partially due to what I dub "super-informative answers", triggered by pragmatics.

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231 pages


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Whitman, John

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Rooth, Mats
Zec, Draga

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Ph. D., Linguistics

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Doctor of Philosophy

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dissertation or thesis

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