All Beginnings Are Light : A Study of Upbeat Phenomena at the Syntax-Phonology Interface

Faculty/Professorship: English and Historical Linguistics  
Author(s): Schlüter, Julia  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : opus
Year of publication: 2014
Pages: 61-87 ; Illustrationen
Source/Other editions: Ursprünglich in: Journal of English Linguistics : JEngL. - 37 (2009), 1, S. 61 - 87 ; The final, definitive version is available at
is version of: 10.1177/0075424208329307
Year of first publication: 2009
Language(s): English
Licence: German Act on Copyright 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-opus4-68320
The present contribution investigates the motivations underlying a tendency for phonological phrases in English to start with upbeats, i.e., unstressed syllables. The empirical part consists of two case studies based on a corpus of Early Modern English prose, and focusing on the variable use of the preposition _of_ introducing nominal complements of _(un)worthy_ and objects of gerunds, respectively. The counts provide quantified evidence indicating that the upbeat phenomenon is not only a corollary of the need for a function word signaling the beginning of a new phrase, but also a rhythmically motivated preference that exerts an influence on the presence or absence of a grammatical marker in phrase onsets. The phonological requirement for an upbeat thus has consequences for the syntactic makeup of phrases. In light of such empirical facts, it is argued that models of grammar conceptualizing the syntax-phonology interface as a unidirectional mapping are not tenable.
GND Keywords: Frühneuenglisch; Gerundium; Prosodie
Keywords: prosody, upbeat, worthy and its complements, gerunds and their objects, Early Modern English
DDC Classification: 420 English  
RVK Classification: HF 450   
Type: Article
Year of publication: 27. June 2014

File SizeFormat  
SchlueterJELAllbegalcorrseA2.pdf314.37 kBPDFView/Open