Intonation in the grammar of Turkish


LINGUA, vol.120, no.1, pp.132-175, 2010 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 120 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.lingua.2009.05.001
  • Journal Name: LINGUA
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.132-175
  • Keywords: Word order, Intonation, Information structure, Turkish, Combinatory Categorial Grammar, INFORMATION-STRUCTURE, SYNTAX
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We claim that the observed word order variations, information structure and the phrasal intonational structure correlate with each other in Turkish, rather than determine one way or the other. Therefore the relation must be mediated. Turkish prosody imposes precedence constraints on certain intonational contours that are responsible for the realization of information structural units, and the lexical syntactic types are reflections of these constraints on grammar, which must include directionality, syntactic types of boundary tones as lexical items, and presyntactic type projection of pitch accents to words in a string. What we then get is one lexicalized grammar mediating the correlation for all kinds of constituencies and compositional meanings, reflecting the phonological, syntactic, semantic and prosodic nature of the constraints on possible lexical categories. We describe an inventory of Turkish tunes and intonation patterns, along with their syntactic types and compositional semantics, and provide an account of systematicity in intonation and information structure using Steedman's theory of syntax-phonology interface. The argument is backed by intonational analysis of recorded speech data. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.