Getting in the first word: Prosody and predicate initial sentences in Serbian

Abstract

Second position clitics in Serbian are informally characterized in terms of their hosts which correspond to either the first word or the first phrase within some clitic positioning domain. Serbian is a free constituent order language, with a default SVO order, but with predicate initial orders in the presence of pro-drop or postposed subjects. Earlier proposals range from those in which first phrase positioning is taken to be syntactic and first word to be prosodic, with the initial prosodic word hosting the clitics (Zec and Inkelas 1990; Halpern 1995), to those which analyze both FirstPhrase and FirstWord as a unified syntactic phenomenon (Franks and Progovac 1994; Bošković 2001). While we argue for the relevance of prosody in first word placement, we shed new light on the scope of its role.

This article is part of the Special Collection: Prosody and Constituent Structure

Keywords

clitics, prosody, Serbian, interfaces

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Diesing, M. & Zec, D., (2017) “Getting in the first word: Prosody and predicate initial sentences in Serbian”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 24. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.204

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Authors

Molly Diesing (Department of Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York)
Draga Zec (Department of Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York)

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