Morphology after Syntax: Pronominal Clitics in Romance

E. Bonet, 1991

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This dissertation is primarily concerned with non-transparent output forms in Romance pronominal clitic combinations. The position is taken that clitics constitute hierarchical structure of morphological features. Each clitic is a subset of the structure shown below:

(1)                                               CL




            PERSON         NEUTER        GENITIVE

            [+/- 1]                                      a

In addition, clitics might contain an Agreement node, dependent on the most specific node dominated by [ARGUMENT], with the privative features [feminine] and [plural].

It is assumed, with Kayne (1975) and later work, that pronominal clitics are generated in argument position at D-structure, and are adjoined to an Infl node by S-structure. S-structure contains fully specified syntactic feature matrices, as argued for in Lumsden (1987). The morphological structures schematized in (1) are created in the mapping from S-structure to the Morphology Component (cf. Halle (1989a,b) and related work). Within the Morphology Component, morphological rules might alter, in certain contexts, the original structure assigned to a specific clitic. In this fashion most non-transparent forms are derived, predicting that an important subset of the non-transparent output forms will have the same surface form as other clitics of the language instead of becoming an arbitrary phonological sequence.

The surface order of clitics is established in the Morphology Component through the mapping to a template. Some other non-transparent forms are obtained at this point, when two clitics (or morphological features) compete for the same slot. Since only one of them can be mapped, the other one simply does not surface.

Phonological information, not present in the syntax, is introduced within the Morphology Component by spell-out rules, providing the input to PF, which deals only with phonological processes.

The type of account presented in this dissertation voids the need for filters that rule out sequences of phonologically identical sequences, criticized often in the literature.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to the framework to be developed in later chapters. Assumptions and the basic mechanisms are laid out, and some specific examples are discussed. The appendix to this chapter contains arguments against a syntactic approach to clitic order and other facts related to clitic combinations. The arguments are drawn largely from Catalan.

Chapter 2 constitutes a detailed analysis of the clitic system of Barceloní, a dialect of Catalan. This dialect contains a considerable number of non-transparent forms. In Barceloní a very clear distinction is made, in terms of morphological behavior, between [PERSON] clitics (that is first person, second person, and reflexive or impersonal clitics) and other clitics. This split is manifested also in other phenomena which are analyzed in later chapters.

Chapter 3 contains analyses of phenomena from other dialects and languages which further illustrate the framework proposed. First, the clitic system of Valencian (another dialect of Catalan) is compared to the system of Barceloní. The second section is devoted to the difference between impersonal and reflexive clitics in Italian. Finally, an important part of this chapter is devoted to the Spurious se Rule of Spanish, and its consequences in several dialects.

Chapter 4 constitutes a description of the *me lui/I-II Constraint, which forces a direct object to be third person in the presence of a dative. This constraint is claimed to be universal, and some language-specific strategies to avoid it are examined.

Chapter 5 contains some concluding remarks, including some directions for further research.

Thesis Supervisor:      Morris Halle

Title:                           Institute Professor


Table of Contents

Chapter 1        INTRODUCTION                                                                             10

1.1       Assumptions                                                                                                  12

1.2       The Proposal                                                                                                  15

            1.2.1    Morphological Structures                                                                   15

            1.2.2    The Mapping from S-structure to the Morphology                          16

               On the Mapping of Reflexives                                               27

            1.2.3    Morphological Rules                                                                          32

            1.2.4    On Recoverability                                                                               36

            1.2.5    On Spell-out                                                                                       41

            1.2.6    On Linearization                                                                                 45

1.3       Some Conclusions                                                                                           46

1.4       Comparisons with Previous Accounts                                                           47

            1.4.1    Perlmutter (1971)                                                                               47

            1.4.2    Emonds (1975), Herschensohn (1980), Burston (1983)                    51

1.5       Organization of the Rest of this Thesis                                                          54


1.1       Pronominal Clitics and their Uses                                                                  57

            1.1.1    Pronominal Clitics as Arguments                                                       59

            1.1.2    Pronominal Clitics as Adjuncts                                                          60

            1.1.3    Inherent Clitics                                                                                   61

            1.1.4    Ethicals                                                                                               62

1.2       Different Types of Clitics in Combination                                                    64

            1.2.1    Combinations of Two Third Person Clitics                                       67

1.3       Dialectical Variation                                                                                        73

1.4       Summary                                                                                                         75


BARCELONI                                                                                     78

2.1       The Mapping from S-structure to the Morphology                                      79

            2.1.1    Separation into Fields                                                                         82

2.2       Morphological Rules                                                                                      85

            2.2.1    The Targets of Morphological Rules                                                  86

            2.2.2    Morphological Rules and Derivations                                                89

            2.2.3    The Feminine                                                                                      98

2.3       Linearization: The Mapping onto a Template                                              102

            2.3.1    [PERSON] Clitics                                                                               104

            2.3.2    Non-[PERSON] Clitics                                                                      107

               Competing for one Slot                                                           108

            2.3.3    On Late Linearization                                                                         112

2.4       Spell-out Rules                                                                                               116

2.5       Residual Issues                                                                                               119

            2.5.1    Extra Clitics                                                                                        119

            2.5.2    A Different Cooccurrence Restriction                                                122

            2.5.3    Allomorphy in the Third Person Accusative Clitic                            124

2.6       Summary

Chapter 3        FURTHER EVIDENCE AND IMPLICATIONS                             129

3.1       Valencian                                                                                                         130

            3.1.1    Arguments for Early Linearization?                                                   133

            3.1.2    On Reflexives                                                                                      137

3.2       Italian                                                                                                              144

            3.2.1    Impersonals and Reflexives                                                                145

3.3       Spanish                                                                                                           150

            3.3.1    On [NEUTER]                                                                                   151

            3.3.2    On the Spurious se Rule                                                                     153

               The Spurious se Rule in Iberian Spanish                                153

               Consequences of the Spurious se Rule                                   157

                                    Spurious se and Agreement Features              157

                                    Se and [NEUTER]                                          166

               Other Related Issues                                                               168

3.4       Summary                                                                                                         173

Chapter 4        ON THE *ME LUI/I-II CONSTRAINT                                           176

4.1       A First Approximation to the *me lui/I-II Constraint                                               177

            4.1.1    One or Two Constraints?                                                                   179

4.2       The Targets and the Constraint                                                                      183

            4.2.1    Relation to Infl                                                                                    186

            4.2.2    The Constraint and Real Relfexives                                                    192

4.3       Syntactic Constructions Sensitive to the Constraint                                      194

4.4       Three Types of Repair Strategies                                                                   200

            4.4.1    Spell-out Elsewhere                                                                            201

            4.4.2    Catalan hi                                                                                            208

            4.4.3    Object Camouflage in Georgian                                                          214

4.5       On Hierarchies                                                                                                217

Chapter 5        CONCLUDING REMARKS                                                            222