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Clitics and Coordination in Linear Structure

Berthold Crysmann
In: Clitics in Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax. Pages 121-159, Linguistics Today, Vol. 36, John Benjamins, 2001.


In the context of lexicalist studies of Romance cliticisation, the development and rigorous application of diagnostic criteria (Zwicky and Pullum, 1983; Miller, 1992) as to their lexical or syntactic status has always enjoyed a central role. As a result, there is a vast body of evidence in French and Italian (Miller 1992; Miller and Sag, 1997; Monachesi, 1996) that weak pronominals in these languages resemble ordinary bound affixes much more than true postlexical clitics. In particular, syntactic, semantic, morphological, and phonological criteria jointly militate against the view of Romance clitics as proper inhabitants of the syntactic world. As a side effect, the distinction between lexical affixes and postlexical clitics (Halpern, 1995) is seen as a strict dichotomy, with little or no room for true morpho-syntactic hybrids. I will argue in this paper that transitional types do indeed occur, which are characterised by the fact that one group of criteria (e.g. morphological criteria) positively suggest syntactic opacity, while almost all syntactic criteria demand a degree of transparency. Based on data from clitic placement and coordination, however, I will suggest that the syntactic transparency is highly superficial in nature, and thus favours an account in terms of word order variation. This perspective will also prove to make appropriate predictions in the context of semantic idiosyncrasies.

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