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Topics in Linguistics D: Syntax-Prosody Interface


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of syntax and (prosodic) phonogy is assumed.


A close correlation is often observed between the prosodic and syntactic boundaries of utterances. For instance, when a speaker finishes uttering a clause, we often hear an audible prosodic break. Based on the assumption that syntactic structures are generated before the prosodic parsing of strings, this correlation is commonly interpreted as showing that prosody reflects syntax.

In this course we will discuss the aspects of the correspondence between syntax and prosody. The students will become familiar with the mainstream theories of the syntax-prosody interface, which discuss the observed (mis)matches between syntactic and prosodic constituents.

We will be exploring the possible answers to questions such as:

What aspects of prosodic properties of an utterance are influenced by syntactic phrase structure?

How faithful is prosody to syntax (given that syntactic structures are recursive, should we expect prosodic structures to be recursive, too?)?

What is the mapping path from syntax to prosody?

Are there any mismatches between syntactic and prosodic structures? If so, what is the source of such mismatches?

The teaching material includes journal articles, chapters from related PhD theses, and books.

Course objectives

The students will develop:

  • a perspective on the division of labour between the phonological and the syntactic module of the grammar.

  • an understanding of prosodic structure rules.

  • ability to critically read and evaluate the existing literature on syntax-phonology interface.



One time per week: Monday, 13:00-15:00

Mode of instruction


Course Load

time spent on attending lectures and seminars: 12 hours
time for studying the compulsory literature: 50 hours
time to write a paper (including reading/research): 68 hours

Assessment method

Participation 35%, Final paper 65%

If the final grade is insufficient students may resit the final paper


Yes. Blackboard

Reading list

The papers to be read will be distributed on the course’s Blackboard website.


Prospective students, please check the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to apply.

After application, students are to register for courses and exams through uSis

Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory

Contact information

By E-mail: Coordinator of Studies

Programme Linguistics Research