In search of prosodic domains in Lusoga


According to Selkirk’s (2011) “match theory”, the mapping of syntactic structure onto prosodic domains is universal. What this means is that if a language chooses to implement the relation between syntactic- or phrase-structure in the phonology, certain syntax-phonology relations should be predictable (and others not possible). This potentially produces asymmetries, as in Luganda, where a verb forms a tone phrase with what follows (e.g. an object, adjunct, right-dislocation), but not with what precedes (e.g. the subject, adverbial, left-dislocation). The purpose of my talk is to raise the question whether the phrasal tonology of Lusoga, the most closely related language to Luganda, is syntactically grounded—or is free to apply without respect to syntax. I begin by briefly outlining the situation in Luganda, and then turn to Lusoga. Although extremely closely related, the two languages are quite different in their implementation (Luganda) vs. non-implementation (Lusoga) of prosodic domains. While I provide an analysis that accounts for this difference, and which respects Selkirk’s claims, I also show that there is one head-dependent syntax-specific condition in both languages that does not so easily fall into line. I conclude with discussion of the typology of phonological phrasing in Bantu.

Larry M. Hyman
Publication date: 
January 1, 2020
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Hyman, L. M. (2020). In search of prosodic domains in Lusoga. In A. Bárány, T. Biberauer, J. Douglas & S. Vikner (Eds), Syntactic architecture and its consequences: Synchronic and diachronic perspectives, Volume 1: Syntax inside the grammar, pp.253-276. Berlin: Language Science Press.