Prosodic conditioning of word order in Khoekhoegowab


Khoekhoegowab is a Khoe-Kwadi language spoken in Namibia with predominately head-final word order. However, while most tense / aspect / polarity (TAP) markers follow the verb as expected, many unexpectedly precede it. In some syntactic contexts normally-preverbal TAPs may follow the verb, but normally-postverbal ones may never precede it. This suggests that both classes originate in a typically-postverbal functional head and that the preverbal TAPs are displaced into their surface position. I will show that this displacement is prosodically conditioned, and will provide an Optimality-Theoretic analysis in which prosodic markedness outranks constraints controlling linearization.

Presented at the Linguistic Society of America 2020 annual meeting, in New Orleans

This presentation primarily discusses material contained in my dissertation.