Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 741–787

Morphological alternations at the intonational phrase edge

The case of K’ichee’

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-012-9170-8

Cite this article as:
Henderson, R. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2012) 30: 741. doi:10.1007/s11049-012-9170-8


This article develops an analysis of a pair of morphological alternations in K’ichee’ (Mayan) that are conditioned at the right edge of intonational phrase boundaries. I propose a syntax-prosody mapping algorithm that derives intonational phrase boundaries from the surface syntax, and then argue that each alternation can be understood in terms of output optimization (Mascaró 2007; Mester 1994). The important fact is that K’ichee’ requires a prominence peak rightmost in the intonational phrase, and so the morphological alternations occur in order to ensure an optimal host for this prominence peak. Finally, I consider the wider implications of the analysis for the architecture of the syntax-phonology interface, especially as it concerns late-insertion theories of morphology (Anderson 1982, 1992; Embick and Noyer 2001; Halle and Marantz 1993; Hayes 1990, among others). The primary result is that late lexical insertion must occur at least as late as the construction of intonational phrases.


Syntax-prosody interface Morphology Prosody 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stevenson CollegeUC, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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