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LINGUIST List 20.4080

Sun Nov 29 2009

Diss: Syntax: Mavrogiorgos: 'Proclisis and Enclisis in Greek'

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        1.    Marios Mavrogiorgos, Proclisis and Enclisis in Greek

Message 1: Proclisis and Enclisis in Greek
Date: 29-Nov-2009
From: Marios Mavrogiorgos <mm476cam.ac.uk>
Subject: Proclisis and Enclisis in Greek
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Institution: University of Cambridge
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Marios Mavrogiorgos

Dissertation Title: Proclisis and Enclisis in Greek

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Greek (ell)

Dissertation Director:
Ian Gareth Roberts

Dissertation Abstract:

My dissertation provides a principled analysis for two interrelated
phenomena in the morphosyntax of Greek clitic pronouns: proclisis (1) and
enclisis (2), respectively:

(1) When the verb is in the indicative or the subjunctive, the clitic
precedes the verb, and nothing may intervene between it and the verb.

(2) When the verb is in the imperative or the gerund, the clitic follows
the verb, and nothing may intervene between it and the verb.

In my dissertation I argue that object clitics are topicalizers, i.e.
optional determiner heads merged on top of the proper Determiner Phrase,
which mark the direct or indirect object of the clause as topic/old
information. I further argue that syntactic cliticization follows from
syntactic agreement between the clitic pronoun and a phase head (see
Chomsky 2001 for the assumption that syntactic derivation is computed in
phases). For Greek and for other languages which have adverbal clitics I
propose that the relevant phase head is v*-transitive and not Tense (T),
contrary to Kayne a.o. Syntactic agreement between the clausal head v* and
the clitic leads to movement of the clitic to the left edge of v* and
incorporation of the clitic into v*. Incorporation yields proclisis and
takes place for two interrelated reasons: first, because the clitic
contains only a subset of the features contained in v*, and second because
the edge of v* is still open/accessible due to the fact that v* has not
checked all of its features.

I further propose that in enclisis person agreement (on T) is defective,
while the verb must check verbal inflection on the higher Complementizer
Modal (CM) head. The clitic targets v*, as in proclisis, however it does
not incorporate into it, because CM is the new phase head by being the
highest inflectional verbal head in a chain of verbal heads. The verb moves
to CM and the clitic merges with it from the lower specifier of vp
(assuming that T is not projected in enclitic environments, i.e.
imperatives and gerunds). In this way we get the generalization that
enclisis obtains when the verb moves across the cliticization site to a
V-related site, i.e. to a site where a verbal inflectional head is found.
This allows us to differentiate between imperatives which have V-to-C
movement and take enclitics, from interrogatives, which in some languages
have V-to-C movement, but take proclitics.

The advantage of this analysis is that it can be generalized across
constructions and across languages without great difficulty, since it is
based on the general principles of (i) subset of features, and (ii) edge
availability/accessibility. Moreover, by basing cliticization on agreement
with phase heads, and given Chomsky's theory on phase heads, it is flexible
enough to be able to account for a plethora of distinct clitic
constructions both within a single language and cross-linguistically, which
is something previous theories lacked.

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