On some effects of Utterance Finality, with special consideration of South Asian languages

  • Hans Henrich Hock University of Illinois


Pitch lowering, avoidance of prosodic prominence, and segmental reductions in utterance-final position are well known crosslinguistic tendencies. In verb-final languages the prosodic effects of Utterance Finality intersect with an independent, crosslinguistic tendency of verbs to receive relatively weak prominence within larger prosodic domains. As a consequence, verbs in SOV languages are special targets for the effects of Utterance Finality. After providing crosslinguistic illustrations of these effects I focus on a number of phenomena in South Asian languages which can be explained in terms of the intersection between Utterance Finality and Verb Finality. These include the relative order of negation and verb and the apparent optionality of ‘be’-deletion in Hindi, the difference in verb accentuation between main and dependent clauses in Vedic, and (possibly) the fact that Kashmiri ki/zi-clauses, unlike relative clauses, have V2, rather than verb-final order.

Author Biography

Hans Henrich Hock, University of Illinois
Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Sanskrit