Desouvrey (2019) – The Syntax of Romanian Clitics

The Syntax of Romanian Clitics
Louis-H Desouvrey
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February 2019
This paper presents a syntactic account of Romanian clitic doubling and clitic clusters. It is shown that depending on feature specification of the argument, the direct object marker pe can behave either as a preposition or a case marker. If it is a preposition, the NP must be doubled by a clitic in order to satisfy the argument structure of the verb. If it is a case marker to the NP, the latter absorbs the case of the verb and satisfies its argument structure as well, hence precluding clitic doubling. As for clitic clusters, a sequence of two clitics must be compounded to form a new edge-bound element that can move under the OCP, without overloading the derivation. There are three types of compound rules, each of which operates in tandem with a series of phonological rules that alter their shapes. Ultimately these sandhi rules obliterate the boundary between the clitics, yielding a new word-like element. This fine-grained account, which relies heavily on grammatical features such as case, reference, π (tier-bound), ω (vector), and ψ (a series of traits like animate, definite, specific), runs like a clockwork. It makes it possible to predict all known peculiarities of clitic combinations, including the rigid dative-accusative ordering, the special behavior of the third feminine singular clitic, the lack of PCC effect, etc.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004447
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Draft
keywords: clitic doubling, clitic clusters, pe-marking, compound, ocp, features, movement, pcc, syntax, coreference, phonology, syntax