Elfner, Emily

Recursive Phonological Phrases in Conamara Irish
Emily Elfner
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

This paper investigates the idea that prosodic categories may be recursive and that phonological processes may reference recursive structure in their domain of application. Through an investigation of new data from Conamara Irish, I investigate the predictions of Match Theory, whereby recursive prosodic structure is generated through a correspondence constraint calling for syntactic and prosodic constituents to correspond one-to-one. I argue that this theory provides an account for the distribution of rising pitch accents in Conamara Irish, which crucially refer to the existence of recursive phrasing at the phonological phrase level. Further support for this theory is found in the interaction of prosodic markedness constraints with syntax-prosody correspondence constraints, where I show that rhythmic factors can result in non-isomorphic structures, and as such, affect the degree of embedding found in recursive prosodic structure and the distribution of rising pitch accents.