This monograph exemplifies a new trend in grammatical theory in which researchers combine findings from more than one area of linguistics. Specifically, the author looks at the relationship between phrasal prominence and focus in Romance and Germanic languages to provide new insights into how these properties are grammatically articulated. Building upon previous results in the field, she argues that phrasal prominence (nuclear stress) reflects syntactic ordering. There are two varieties of syntactic ordering. The first is the standard asymmetric c-command ordering. The second is the ordering derived from the primitive relation of selection holding between a head and its associated argument.Part of the difference between Germanic and Romance languages stems from a difference in the way the two syntactic orderings interact in the mapping onto phrasal prominence. The author shows that the symmetry between syntactic ordering and phrasal prominence so defined may be broken because of the independent requirement that a focused constituent must contain the most prominent element in the sentence. Two kinds of processes come into play to repair the broken symmetry. One is a process of deaccenting. The other is a process of movement, called "p-movement." The author shows that a proper understanding of the properties of p-movement can be attained within the framework of the Minimalist Program.
About the Author
Maria Luisa Zubizarreta is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Levels of Representation in the Lexicon and in the Syntax.