SynPhonI - Phonology-Syntax Interface in Bantu Languages

This project undertakes a comparative study of the mutual influence of phonetics, phonology, syntax and information structure on the phrasal prosody of selected Bantu languages. The project investigates the syntax and prosody of complex syntactic structures - embedded clauses, dislocations and questions - to test whether prosodic models developed for simple structures extend to more complex data. Careful phonetic analysis of the data is being undertaken in order to provide a more detailed description of systematic correlates of phrasal prosody, allowing each prosodic level to be better motivated. As we are analyzing the data in current syntactic models, the project also aims to provide a more fine-grained picture of the syntactic factors that condition prosody and determine whether non-syntactic factors influence phrasal prosody. Investigating the same structures in several Bantu languages, spoken over a geographically wide area, will provide the basis for a comparative study of the syntax and prosody of these structures that will be of interest both to Bantuists and to other researchers working on similar issues.

The following research questions are central to this proposal:

  • Does the Prosodic Hierarchy provide enough levels to define the domains for different types of phrasal prosody?
  • Do different prosodic levels have (cross-linguistically) consistent phonetic correlates?
  • Can one account for prosodic phrasing only by referring to syntactic constituent edges or do other factors (like cyclic syntactic domains, argument-adjunct distinctions or information structure) play a role?

Publications

  • Buell, Leston C. , Kristina Riedel & Jenneke van der Wal. 2011. What the Bantu languages can tell us about word order and movement. In Leston C. Buell, Kristina Riedel & Jenneke van der Wal (eds.), Lingua 121, 689-701.
  • Buell, Leston C., Kristina Riedel & Jenneke van der Wal (eds.). 2011. Movement and Word Order in Bantu [Special Issue] (Lingua 121(5)). .
  • Downing, Laura J. 2011. Bantu Tone. In Marc van Oostendorp, Colin J. Ewen, Elizabeth Hume & Keren Rice (eds.), The Blackwell companion to phonology, 5 vols., chapter 114 (vol. 5). Malden, MA & Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Downing, Laura J. 2011. The prosody of ‘dislocation’ in selected Bantu languages. In Leston Buell, Kristina Riedel & Jenneke van der Wal (eds.), Movement and Word Order in Bantu [Special Issue], Lingua 121(5), 772-786.
  • Downing, Laura J. 2010. An Edge-based approach to the alignment of syntactic phases and prosodic phrases. Transactions of the Philological Society 108:3, Special issue on the Prosody-Syntax Connection. 352-369.
  • Downing, Laura J. 2010. Accent in African Languages. In Rob W. N. Goedemans, Harry G. van der Hulst & Ellen A. van Zanten (eds.), A Survey of Word Accentual Patterns in the Languages of the World, 381-427. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Downing, Laura J. 2010. Prosodic phrasing in relative clauses: A comparative look at Zulu, Chewa and Tumbuka. In Karsten Legère & Christina Thornell (eds.), Bantu Languages: Analyses, Description and Theory, 17-29. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.
  • Downing, Laura J.. 2011. Introduction. In Laura J. Downing (ed.), Questions in Bantu Languages: Prosodies and Positions, ZASPiL 55, 1-6. Berlin: ZAS.
  • Downing, Laura J.. 2011. Wh-questions in Chewa and Tumbuka: positions and prosodies. In Laura J. Downing (ed.), Questions in Bantu Languages: Prosodies and Positions, ZASPiL 55, 23-46. Berlin: ZAS.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Al Mtenje. 2011. Prosodic phrasing of Chichewa relative clauses. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 32. 65-111.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Al Mtenje. 2011. Un-Wrap-ing prosodic phrasing in Chichewa. In Nicole Dehé, Ingo Feldhausen & Shinichiro Ishihara (eds.), Lingua 121 (13), 1965-1986.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Al Mtenje. 2010. The prosody of relative clauses in Chewa. In Laura J. Downing, Annie Rialland, Cédric Patin & Kristina Riedel (eds.), Papers from the Workshop on Bantu Relative Clauses, 53-67. Berlin: ZASPiL 53.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Lisa Cheng. 2012. Against FocusP: Evidence from Durban Zulu. In Ivona Kučerová & Ad Neeleman (eds.), Contrasts and Positions in Information Structure, 247-266. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Lisa Cheng. 2010. Locative relatives in Durban Zulu. In Laura J. Downing, Annie Rialland, Cédric Patin & Kristina Riedel (eds.), Papers from the Workshop on Bantu Relative Clauses, 33-51. Berlin: ZASPiL.
  • Downing, Laura J. & Maarten Mous. 2011. Challenges of Cushitic reduplication for Generalized Template Theory. Brill's Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 3. 82-110.
  • Downing, Laura J. (ed.). 2011. Questions in Bantu Languages: Prosodies and Positions (ZASPiL 55). Berlin: ZAS.
  • Downing, Laura J., Annie Rialland, Cédric Patin, Kristina Riedel. 2010. Introduction. In Laura J. Downing, Annie Rialland, Cédric Patin & Kristina Riedel (eds.), Papers from the Workshop on Bantu Relative Clauses, 1-6. Berlin: ZASPiL 53.
  • Downing, Laura J., Annie Rialland, Jean-Marc Beltzung, Sophie Manus, Cédric Patin & Kristina Riedel. 2010. Papers from the workshop on Bantu relative clauses (ZAS Papers in Linguistics). Berlin: ZAS.
  • Embanga Aborobongui, Martial, Jean-Marc Beltzung, Fatima Hamlaoui & Annie Rialland. 2011. Questions partielles en embosi. In Laura Downing (ed.), Questions in Bantu languages: prosodies and positions. ZASPiL 55, 7-21.
  • Hamlaoui, Fatima & Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso. 2011. Bàsàa wh-questions and prosodic structuring. In Laura Downing (ed.), Questions in Bantu languages: prosodies and positions. ZASPiL 55, 47-63.
  • Riedel, Kristina. 2010. Relative clauses in Haya. In Laura J. Downing, Annie Rialland, Jean-Marc Beltzung, Sophie Manus, Cédric Patin & Kristina Riedel (eds.), Papers from the Workshop on Bantu Relative Clauses (ZAS Papers in Linguistics 53), 211-225. Berlin: ZAS.
  • Riedel, Kristina & Cédric Patin. 2011. Question structure and intonation in Fipa. In Laura J. Downing (ed.), Questions in Bantu languages: prosodies and positions (ZAS Papers in Linguistics 55), 211-225.

Events

  • Workshop Prosody and syntax of relative clauses in Bantu. 8.-9.1.2010, Paris.
  • Workshop Questions in Bantu Languages, 25.-26.3.2011, Institut des Sciences de l’Homme, Lyon, France.
  • Conference Berlin Bantu Conference (B4ntu), 7.-9.04.2011, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Seminar für Afrikawissenschaften.

Partners

Gérard Philippson    
INALCO, Paris    
Bantu tonology

Sophie Manus    
Université Lyon 2    
Makonde tonology

Martial Embanga    
Université Paris 3    
Mbosi tonology

Cédric Patin   
Université de Lille   
Shingazidja phonology-syntax interface
        
Manfred Krifka    
Director, ZAS, Berlin    
Bantu semantics

Hubert Truckenbrodt    
ZAS, Berlin    
Phonology-syntax interface

Tonjes Veenstra    
ZAS, Berlin    
Bantu syntax
        
Sabine Zerbian    
Uni Potsdam    
South African Bantu tone and intonation

Charles W. Kisseberth    
Tel Aviv University (emeritus)    
Bantu phonology-syntax

Larry Hyman    
UC-Berkeley    
Bantu phonology-syntax