Listen to the sound of salience: Multichannel syntax of Q particles

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I claim that the linguistic message that realizes syntax is multichannel. The syntax-PF interface is the interface of syntax with all the sensorimotor systems available to humans, including, for oral languages, minimal vocalic productions, intonation, hand movement and body gestures. I show that the realization of syntactic structure consists of (i) segmental oral morphemes, (ii) non-segmental oral morphemes (intonation), and (iii) nonoral morphemes (segmental or not; hand movements, upper body gestures and face movements). In particular, the latter predicts the use of non-oral morphemes in <i>oral </i>languages, since the speakers of oral languages have it available in their sensorimotor system. I focus on the CP domain of oral languages, and show that its functional projections can be realized by either (i), (ii) and (iii). The empirical body of this article concentrates on the multichannel Q particles in French, Atlantic French and British English.


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