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Book: Syntax Prosody in Optimality Theory

Chapter: 4. Asymmetry in Japanese Prosodic (Mis)matching: The Need for Align and Match

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41006


Japanese phonological phrasing displays a remarkable asymmetry: four-word left-branching structures [[[a b] c] d] undergo prosodic rebracketing to ((a b) (c d)), while all other three- and four-word syntactic trees are perfectly matched, as in [a [b [c d]]] → (a (b (c d))) (Kubozono 1989). The syntax-prosody mapping constraints of Match Theory (MT; Selkirk 2011) are symmetric, and equally disfavor rebracketing of left and right-branching structures. Thus, within MT, the Japanese rebracketing asymmetry must be due to an asymmetric markedness constraint. But no existing markedness constraint makes the relevant distinction. We show that a hybrid theory combining Match and Align constraints is needed to account for these mappings, and that neither a pure Match or pure Align system can do so. In Japanese, both Match(XP,φ) and Align(XP,L,φ,L) are active.

Chapter Contributors

  • Junko Ito ( - jito) 'University of California, Santa Cruz'
  • Jennifer Bellik ( - jbellik) 'University of California, Santa Cruz '
  • Nick Kalivoda ( - nkalivoda) 'University of California, Santa Cruz'
  • Armin Mester ( - Mester1741224301) 'University of California Santa Cruz'