LINGUIST List 14.3033

Fri Nov 7 2003

Diss: Syntax: Werkmann: 'Object Clitics...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. janewa, Object Clitics in Bulgarian

Message 1: Object Clitics in Bulgarian

Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 09:47:20 -0500 (EST)
From: janewa <>
Subject: Object Clitics in Bulgarian

Institution: Leipzig University
Program: General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Valja Werkmann

Dissertation Title: Object Clitics in Bulgarian

Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: Bulgarian (code: BLG)

Dissertation Director 1: Anita Steube 
Dissertation Director 2: Gerhild Zybatow 
Dissertation Director 3: Ruselina Nicolova 

Dissertation Abstract:

[Thesis written in German; original title 'Objektklitika im
Bulgarischen'; published 2003 by Studia Grammatica, Berlin] The
dissertation describes Bulgarian object clitics within Chomskyan
linguistics. The topic of investigation are the syntactic and
phonological properties of the object clitics, the morphosyntactic
configurations, in which they appear and their semantic and
information structural interpretation.

This work claims that Bulgarian object clitics are specific
referential items, which are merged in the argument position of the
verb. With respect to the integration of the object clitics into the
DP-structure, it assumes a special functional level in the extended
nominal projection. The hypothesis is that the object clitic is
base-generated as the head of a Referentia l Phrase (RP). In this
manner the object clitic heads its own projection an d takes the DP as
its complement.

This constellation allows the three possible occurrences of objects in
Bulgarian to be derived by the same underlying structure. When the
clitic appears alone, the DP will not project; when the DP functions
as the object of the verb, the additional functional projection RP
will not project. When the DP is accompanied by a co-referential
object clitic, the whole RP (clitic-DP complex) enter the syntactic

It is argued in this work that the clitic pronouns in Bulgarian
undergo movement. The clitics enter the syntactic component as the
arguments of the verb. Because of their feature specification as
[-focus] they are subject to movement. At the surface they appear in
the background. Their feature specification as verbal clitics forces
their cliticization on the finite verb. The object clitics are placed
above the VP by requirements of information structure, which are due
of their status as unaccented entities that are marked for
non-focality. By clitic doubling the feature [-focus] of the clitic is
transmitted to the doubled DP. This feature triggers raising of the DP
from the focus domain to the left where the background material of the
se ntence is usually found.

An important advantage of this analysis is that it proves a
straightforward account of the thematic problem. That is, the clitic
and its double form a constituent and they are thus jointly assigned a
single theta-role from the verb. This analysis consistently
characterizes all three options for the syntactic realization of
objects in Bulgarian, namely when the DP functions as the object of
the verb; when the clitic substitute the DP and when the object is
clitic-doubled. Furthermore, it reflects the specific information
structural contribution of the clitic pronoun in these constructions.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue