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LINGUIST List 20.2002

Thu May 28 2009

Diss: Syntax: Fernandez-Rubiera: 'Clitics at the Edge: Clitic...'

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        1.    Francisco Fernandez-Rubiera, Clitics at the Edge: Clitic placement in Western Iberian Romance Languages

Message 1: Clitics at the Edge: Clitic placement in Western Iberian Romance Languages
Date: 27-May-2009
From: Francisco Fernandez-Rubiera <torreasturgmail.com>
Subject: Clitics at the Edge: Clitic placement in Western Iberian Romance Languages
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Institution: Georgetown University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Francisco Jose Fernandez-Rubiera

Dissertation Title: Clitics at the Edge: Clitic placement in Western Iberian Romance Languages

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Elena Herburger
Hector Campos

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation focuses on the distribution of pre- and postverbal clitic
alternations in both matrix and finite embedded environments, in three
Western Iberian Romance languages: Galician, European Portuguese, and
Asturian. The analysis of these clitic alternations in Romance has a long
tradition within the generative enterprise, and different analyses have
capitalized on different triggers to account for those alternations.

In this study, I show that the inclusion of Asturian raises interesting
issues for analyses dealing with clitic placement alternations. In short,
while pre- and postverbal clitic patterns in all Western Iberian Romance
languages are subject to the same conditions in the matrix environment,
crosslinguistic differences arise the moment one turns to the finite
embedded one: In Asturian, unlike in Galician and European Portuguese,
postverbal clitics arise obligatorily after a Topic in finite embedded
contexts as that in (1).

(1) Repítote [que yo dexélo aquel diecisiete de mayu] Ast
repeat1SG-youCL that I left1SG-IND-itCL that seventeenth of May
'I repeat to you that I left it that May seventeenth' [de Pablo, Memoria]

Furthermore, speakers of a variety of Asturian which I refer to as
Conservative Asturian (CAst) report data as that in (2), where both a post-
and a preverbal clitic can be found. Interestingly, each pattern correlates
with a different interpretation.

(2) a. Digo [qu'ayúdame] CAst
say1SG that-help3SG-IND-meCL

b. Digo [que me ayuda]
say1SG that meCL help3SG-IND
'I say that s/he helps me out' [From Viejo (2008)]

In this dissertation, I argue that pre- and postverbal clitic alternations
in Western Iberian Romance languages may be captured as follows: in Western
Iberian, Finitenessº (cf. Rizzi (1997)) is a phase-head (cf. Chomsky
(2008)) which (i) is responsible for the different clitic patterns, and
(ii) is the locus of crosslinguistic variation in the finite embedded
context. Under this analysis, I show that both similarities in clitic
alternations in the matrix context and the noted variation in the finite
embedded one in this group of languages can be easily captured. Moreover, I
claim that this analysis can naturally explain the interpretation
differences I observe between a postverbal and preverbal pattern in (2a)
and (2b).

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