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Issues in the Phonology-Syntax Interface in African Languages
Laura J. Downing
26-38 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Prosodic phenomena in African languages have played an important role in the development of theories of the phonology-syntax interface. This paper surveys central issues that arise for current theories of the phonology-syntax interface. It first presents a brief survey of phrasal processes (mostly tonal) in selected Bantu languages in different syntactic contexts: simple sentences, simple sentences with dislocated elements, and relative clauses. Then it briefly reviews how two current variations on rival approaches—the indirect reference (edge-based) and direct reference (phase-based)—account for the phrasing in these contexts. The next section shows why non-syntactic factors also condition phrasing in some languages, providing a challenge for both the direct and indirect reference theories. The final issue the paper addresses is the growing importance of experimental methodology in phonology and its implications for work on the phonology-syntax interface.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Interfaces in African Languages
edited by lanik la Orie and Karen W. Sanders
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00