The Linguistic Review
Editor-in-Chief: van der Hulst, Harry
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The focus and prosodic structure of German Right Node Raising and Gapping
Right Node Raising and Gapping consist of parallel sentential conjuncts, one of them being elliptical. The ellipsis is in the first conjunct in Right Node Raising and in the last conjunct in Gapping. We analyze ellipsis as the result of radical deaccentuation, to avoid superfluous repetition of phonetic material. In order to be well-formed, these constructions rely on a symmetric syntax, as well as on symmetrically accented material in the remnants, which we claim to be the result of contrastive focus (see Hartmann 2000). The new claim is that these constructions also need a special prosodic phrasing. Correlates of phrasing, like downstep, upstep and register scaling highlight the place of the ellipsis, especially in Right Node Raising where the ellipsis is at the end of the first conjunct. In this case, the hearer has to wait until the end of the second conjunct to be able to fill the gap. Much weaker correlates of phrasing are found in Gapping, since the ellipsis is in the second conjunct. There, the elided material has already been processed in the first conjunct, and the processing load is not so heavy. Our claims are supported by the results of production experiments.
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