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The Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax: four apparent counter-examples in French

Abstract : The Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax (PPFS) is a proposed universal principle of grammar that prohibits reference to phonological information in syntactic rules or constraints. Although many linguists have noted phenomena that appear to them to be in conflict with it, the appearances are misleading in all cases we have examined. This paper scrutinizes four instructive cases in French that appear to falsify the PPFS. Section 1 deals with the alleged relevance of syllable count to the description of attributive adjective placement; section 2 addresses the validity of a rule mentioning consonantality in stating the agreement rule for adverbial tout; section 3 turns to the issue of preposition choice (e.g. en vs. au) with geographical proper names; and section 4 takes a look at a purported case of phonological reference in stating the rule for ellipsis of a clitic pronoun and an auxiliary in a coordinate structure. In each case we bring independent evidence to bear on the problem in order to show that the analyses employing phonology-sensitive syntactic statements are in error and the prediction of the PPFS is confirmed.
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Contributor : Philip Miller Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, November 29, 2015 - 9:49:28 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 8:56:17 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01235284, version 1


Philip Harold Miller, Geoffrey K. Pullum, Arnold M. Zwicky. The Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax: four apparent counter-examples in French. Journal of Linguistics, 1997, 33 (1), pp.67-90. ⟨hal-01235284⟩



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