Ralf Vogel

Is prominence a useful concept for the theory of syntax?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Asymmetries; Iconicity; Major Syntactic Domains; Morphosyntactic Prominence.

The main purpose of this paper is an explication and evaluation of the notion (morpho)syntactic prominence. The notion has to be distinguished from already established concepts like markedness and ico¬nicity. The basis for syntactic prominence is asymmetries in the syntactic form. A syntactic unit a is more prominent than another syntactic unit b, if there is a syntactic asymmetry between them and in addition a has a prominence defining property that b lacks. If this property is a morphosyntactic property, we have a case of truly morphosyntactic prominence. If that property is a semantic or phonological property, we have a case of borrowed morphosyntactic prominence. A wider range of morphosyntactic relations is analysed with respect to their potential contribution to morphosyntactic prominence. A central result of these considerations is that morphosyntactic prominence can be helpful in readjusting the focus of interest in syntactic theory to major syntactic domains and their lexical core.

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