Prosodic constituency and locality
in Levantine Arabic
This paper examines negative concord sentences in Southern Levantine Arabic (Palestinian and Jordanian), providing evidence that locality restrictions on negative concord licensing are in fact restrictions on prosodic rather than syntactic locality. While negative concord is generally a clause-local dependency, a set of exceptions is examined in which the licensing relationship crosses subordinate clause boundaries. These examples involve a set of subordinating verbs with a high frequency in the Maamouri, Buckwalter, Graff, & Jin (2006a,b) corpus. Acoustic analysis of these data shows a strong correlation between the frequency of a subordinating verb in the corpus, its acceptability with non-local negative concord and reduced prosodic prominence in its pronunciation. This suggests that non-local negative concord licensing correlates with a subordinating verb structure being pronounced as a single prosodic constituent.