This Friday there will be a colloquium talk by Anja Arnhold (University of Alberta) on Friday, March 10th at 3:30PM at Trottier Building, room 2120.

Title: Prosodic and morpho-syntactic focus marking: Can we find complexity trade-offs?

Abstract: Most languages mark information structural notions like focus, though they differ in the linguistic means they use to do so. In explaining which means individual languages use, many authors have derived the use of syntactic focus marking from prosodic constraints or vice versa (e.g. Büring & Gutiérrez-Bravo, 2002; Féry, 2013; Klok et al., 2018; Lambrecht, 2001; Szendrői, 2017). Such suggestions are, implicitly or explicitly, in line with another line of research on linguistic trade-offs which assumes that a) language has evolved to be efficient and avoid redundancy and b) complexity in one component of language restricts complexity in another component (Fedzechkina, 2014; Fenk-Oczlon & Fenk, 2008; Gibson et al., 2019; Reinhart, 2006).

Uniting these two lines of inquiry, I will present my past, ongoing and planned experimental research on interactions between prosody and morpho-syntax in focus marking. This research specifically looks for both qualitative and quantitative trade-offs between the two by comparing their use in different languages as well as within the same language under different experimentally induced conditions.