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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2016, Vol. 47, No. 2, Pages 169-234
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00209)
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lightest to the Right: An Apparently Anomalous Displacement in Irish
Article PDF (3.48 MB)

This article analyzes mismatches between syntactic and prosodic constituency in Irish and attempts to understand those mismatches in terms of recent proposals about the nature of the syntax-prosody interface. It argues in particular that such mismatches are best understood in terms of Selkirk’s (2011) Match Theory, working in concert with constraints concerned with rhythm and phonological balance. An apparently anomalous rightward movement that seems to target certain pronouns and shift them rightward is shown to be fundamentally a phonological process: a prosodic response to a prosodic dilemma. The article thereby adds to a growing body of evidence for the role of phonological factors in shaping constituent order.