Intonation, information structure and the derivation of inverse VO languages

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The correspondence between grammatical and prosodic boundaries is widely acknowledged in the literature and a number of recent works have studied the syntax–prosody interface and its relation to information structure. In this line of analysis, this paper presents the results of a pioneering interface investigation (based on natural data) on two inverse VO languages, Tagalog and Malagasy.Crucial similarities and important asymmetries provide a contribution to the understanding of intonational properties and to the ongoing debate on word order derivation. In particular, prosodic evidence and information-structural considerations show that the V-initial order is derived through vP (remnant) movement in both languages. This movement, however, is not directly connected with focus, since it also occurs when the vP does not convey new information. A connection with an (extended) EPP requirement is therefore proposed as a property of ‘predicate-fronting’ languages.


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