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This article develops an analysis of a pair of morphological alternations in K'ichee' (Mayan) that are conditioned at the right edge of intonational phrase boundaries. I propose a syntax-prosody mapping algorithm that derives intonational phrase boundaries from the surface syntax, and then argue that each alternation can be understood in terms of output optimization. The important fact is that a prominence peak is always rightmost in the intonational phrase, and so the morphological alternations occur in order to ensure an optimal host for this prominence peak. Finally, I consider the wider implications of the analysis for the architecture of the syntax-phonology interface, especially as it concerns late-insertion theories of morphology.


Morphology | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Phonetics and Phonology | Syntax


This is the author's final accepted manuscript version of this article, subsequently published in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 30.3 (2012): 741-789.

This version is minimally different from the final published version: this version actually corrects an unfortunate morphological parsing error in the published version. While the problem has no bearing on the analysis, this version is more authoritative.

The final publication is available at