The diachronic interaction of prosodic structure and morphology

To communicate, human languages must resolve the issue of grouping units of meaning by using elements that are predominantly formal, and which themselves are grouped into larger formal units. My interest, overall, is in the interaction of these two types of units, those of meaning (morphology) and those that constitute larger formal domains (prosody). Since parsing of prosodic and morphological structure is not always isomorphic, the two systems need to find common ground, one level of structure acquiescing to the other’s requirements.

As a result, some languages will display features that are morphology-strong, while others will be prosody-strong. A key fact determining these options will be the language’s morphological type, with some requiring more transparency in the morphology (agglutination, polysynthesis) and others less (fusion, isolation).

Benjamín Molineaux
Benjamín Molineaux
Lecturer in Linguistics

I am a historical linguist, working on sounds, spellings, word structure and stress in Mapudungun and Older Scots.