Kuchenbrandt (2016) – Prosody and object clitic placement: A comparison of Old and Modern Spanish

Prosody and object clitic placement: A comparison of Old and Modern Spanish
Imme Kuchenbrandt
June 2016
Direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003022

It has often been claimed that the Tobler–Mussafia Law, i.e. the ban on sentence-initial clitic pronouns, is based on prosodic properties such as the ban on unstressed monosyllabic words at the sentence beginning ( Mussafia, 1886) or the inherent enclitic nature of the respective pronouns (Meyer-Lübke, 1897). More recent research has identified a number of extra-phonological motivations for this clitic placement, making a prosodic explanation seem superfluous. The present study addresses the question whether Old Spanish, a clear Tobler–Mussafia language, differs in its prosodic patterns from Modern Spanish, which does not show the Tobler–Mussafia placement any longer. The comparison of the data shows that Old Spanish tolerates more sentence-initial unstressed monosyllables and unstressed pretonic syllables at the sentence beginning than Modern Spanish does, contrary to expectations. Together with the observation that the direction of clitic attachment is rather due to the prosodic context (i.e. the immediate preceding or following prosodic words and potential Phonological Phrase boundaries) than to a fixed directionality parameter, this falsifies the hypothesis that the clitic placement pattern in the TML language Old Spanish is due to specific prosodic patterns.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003022
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003022)
Published in: Lingua (10.1016/j.lingua.2016.05.002)
keywords: prosody; tobler–mussafia law; old spanish; modern spanish; clitics, phonology