Edited by Ernestina Carrilho, Alexandra Fiéis, Maria Lobo and Sandra Pereira
[Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 10] 2016
► pp. 61–82
When imperfections are perfect
Prosody, phi-features and deixis in Central and Southern Italian vocatives
Vocatives are often considered as exceptions to the regularity of language, and therefore often put “outside” of grammar, and pertaining instead to speech. In this paper, we wish to show that this conceptualization of vocatives is wrong: not only are they perfectly regular, but they give us important insights on the grammatical architecture of language. We will consider a case-study, namely central and southern Italian vocatives, which are obtained by truncation, to show that: 1. Deixis and reference are to be kept separate. 2. Speech-act related information is encoded in syntax, but on a different dimension than core argumental syntax. 3. This dimension is targeted by prosody. 4. There would be no other way that grammar could be built, given the inviolable constraint imposed by prosody because of the fact that it cannot apply without underlying phonological segmental material.
Cited by 7 other publications
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