DFKI-LT - Dissertation Series

Vol. V

Tania Avgustinova: Word Order and Clitics in Bulgarian

ISBN: 3-933218-04-7
184 pages
price: € 11

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This dissertation is concerned with Bulgarian word-order phenomena involving clitics. It grew out of an interest in the way considerable word-order variance is achieved in a language exhibiting an impoverished declension system in combination with a well-developed mechanism for clitic replication. Across the languages, clitics' behaviour varies from that of word affixes to the autonomy of independent syntactic forms; in this respect, the intermediate status of Bulgarian clitics is particularly interesting. As theoretical framework, the Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) is chosen, due to its essential property of offering a multidimensional, but nevertheless integral, sign-based representation of linguistic objects. The complexity of structural relations within the Bulgarian verb complex questions the adequacy and universal validity of lexicalist approaches to the treatment of clitics. The proposed analysis is based on a variant of HPSG that provides an additional morphosyntactic dimension for modelling analytic verb morphology and cliticisation. Once the step towards admitting the existence of morphosyntactic constituency is made, the language description gains in explanatory power and transparency with respect to a number of phenomena belonging to the vague interface area between the lexicon and syntax proper. The morphosyntactic grammar module distinguishes the Bulgarian language in the Slavic family, which illustrates that in HPSG the parametrisation of linguistic and cross-linguistic variation can occur in the grammar. As a prerequisite for interpreting clitic replication on the clausal level, a typology of Bulgarian articled and non-articled NPs is developed, which provides criteria for determining the replication potential of nominal material. Clitic replication of full-fledged NP-complements has a communicatively-driven syntactic dimension and deserves special attention as a factor influencing the constituent order variation in the Bulgarian sentence. The proposed model of accusative clitic replication in the S-V-O sentence type, and accusative and dative clitic replication in the S-V-O1-O2 sentence type is capable of predicting when clitic replication is impossible, when it is obligatory, and when it is only optional. Even though the linguistic research carried out in this work is strongly motivated by the need for an explicit formal description of Bulgarian constituent structure and word order for computer implementation, the formal issues have been moved to the second plan, with the intention of making the analysis comprehensible for the broadest possible circles of readers with a background in Slavistics. The lack of stress on formalisation, however, does not imply that the theory presented cannot be formalised. The fact that it has been successfully implemented in the form of a parser underlying an experimental grammar-checker for Bulgarian shows that a rigorous formalisation is indeed possible.