Final compression in French as a phrasal phenomenon
Final compression in French is examined from a theoretical perspective and illustrated with experimental data. In French, only final prosodic domains that are at least the size of a prosodic phrase (Φ-phrase) may be subject to final compression. Prosodic units that are smaller than Φ-phrases, such as prosodic words (ω-words) or syllables, cannot be compressed. Therefore, final compression is a phrasal phenomenon. This conclusion is confirmed in a comparison between sequences consisting of a noun + adjective and verb + argument on one hand, and verb + adjunct on the other. Syntactic expressions of the first kind are integrated into single Φ-phrases, and final compression does not take place. Syntactic sequences of the verb + adjunct variety, however, form separate Φ-phrases, and final compression may occur.