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Seminar: Clause chaining and the utterance phrase: Syntax–prosody mapping in Matukar Panau, Danielle Barth & John Mansfield, 2 Nov

Australian National University, Shape

Date: 22 October 2018

Seminar: Clause chaining and the utterance phrase: Syntax–prosody mapping in Matukar Panau

Speaker: Danielle Barth (Australian National University) & John Mansfield (University of Melbourne)

When: 2 November, 3.30pm-5pm

Where: Room E4.44, Seminar room level 4, Baldessin Building, ANU


Clause chaining is a grammatical structure used by some languages to organise events into connected groups. Clause chains can be thought of as the spoken-language equivalent of paragraphs – an organisational device that indicates a set of statements should be regarded as forming a coherent discourse unit (Foley, 1986; Ross, 2002). In this presentation, we present a preliminary study of prosodic constituency in clause-chaining, this being the first descriptive or theoretical study dedicated to the topic. We present new data from Matukar Panau, an Oceanic language of Papua New Guinea, arguing that clause chains are represented prosodically by pitch scaling in both High accents and Low boundary tones. Pitch scaling of this type has been found for higher-level discourse units in non-chaining languages (Féry, 2010; Ladd, 1990; Truckenbrodt & Féry, 2015), but what makes Matukar special is that it marks such units both prosodically and grammatically. This finding provides an affirmation of prosodic mapping theory, which holds that morphosyntactic constituents are systematically mapped to prosodic constituents(Inkelas, 1989; Nespor & Vogel, 2012; Selkirk, 2011). But Matukar clause chaining also makes a substantial new contribution to the theory, by showing that a syntactic constituent above the clause level maps to a prosodic constituent above the intonation phrase.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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