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Word Order, Information Structure and Intonation of Discontinuous Nominal Constructions in Cantonese / Ordre des mots, structure de l’information et intonation des phrases nominales discontinues en Cantonais

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This paper examines the syntactic, intonational and information structural properties of discontinuous nominal constructions in Cantonese. Four different syntactic constructions are identified which are used to indicate different information status of elements in a noun phrase, all involving two full NPs with either overt or covert heads. Discourse particles play a crucial role, not only for the interpretation of information structure, but also as anchoring points for boundary tones. Otherwise, intonation and prosody are not affected by word order changes, with the exception of optional pauses after or before dislocated constituents.
Cet article examine la structure de l’information des syntagmes nominaux discontinus en Cantonais, ainsi que leurs propriétés syntaxiques et intonatives. Quatre constructions syntaxiques distinctes ont été identifiées qui servent à exprimer des rôles spécifiques de structure de l’information sur des parties de syntagmes nominaux. Ces rôles impliquent deux syntagmes nominaux complets et indépendants l’un de l’autre, avec des têtes prononcées ou non. Les particules discursives jouent un rôle essentiel, non seulement pour l’interprétation de la structure de l’information, mais aussi pour l’ancrage des tons de frontière. L’intonation et la prosodie ne jouent aucun rôle en dehors des pauses facultatives avant ou après les syntagmes discontinus. L’intonation n’est pas affectée par les changements d’ordre des mots.

Affiliations: 1: University of Hong Kong
; 2: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt


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