Null subject imperatives are hypothesized to contain a null pronominal subject with second person φ-features (pro) (Potsdam, 1998). The two experiments in this thesis test whether this null element significantly impacts the phonetic stress assigned to the following word, as compared to imperative sentences containing an overt you subject instead. The two types of imperative sentences were compared to raising sentences, which have previously been found to show no significant phonetic stress assignment changes regardless of the presence of an expletive it subject (Weir, 2019). It was hypothesized that a significant interaction between imperative and raising sentences would appear as an effect of subject presence. No significant interaction was observed in either experiment and thus, no phonetic impact of pro was found. Both experiments, however, showed a significant effect of clause type independent of subject presence, suggesting that participants were employing phonetic means to distinguish imperative and raising sentences when reading them.
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Thesis advisor: Han, Chung-hye
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