I investigate the phonology of prosodic clitics - independent syntactic
words not parsed as independent prosodic words - in Bosnian, Serbian, and
Croatian. I ask, first, how clitics are organized into prosodic structures,
and second, how this is determined by the grammar. Following Zec (1997,
2005), I look at several clitic categories, including negation,
prepositions, complementizers, conjunctions, and second-position clitics.
Based on a reanalysis of word accent (Browne and McCawley 1965, Inkelas and
Zec 1988, Zec 1999), I argue that in some cases where a preposition,
complementizer, or conjunction fails to realize accent determined by a
following word, it is not a proclitic - that is, prosodified with the
following word - but rather a free clitic parsed directly by a phonological
Conversely, the second-position clitics are not always enclitic - that is,
prosodified with a preceding word - but are sometimes free. Their
second-position word order results not from enclisis, but from the
avoidance of free clitics at phrase edges, where they would interfere with
the alignment of phonological phrases to prosodic words.
Regarding the determination of clisis by the grammar, I argue for an
interface constraint approach (Selkirk 1995, Truckenbrodt 1995), whereby
prosodic structures are built according to general constraints on their
well-formedness, and on their interface to syntactic structures. I contrast
this with the subcategorization approach, which sees clisis as specified
for each clitic (Klavans 1982, Radanovic-Kocic 1988, Zec and Inkelas 1990).
The comparison across clitic categories provides key support for the
interface constraint approach, showing that their prosody depends on their
syntactic configurations and phonological shapes, rather than on arbitrary
subcategorizations. Prosodic differences across categories are a derivative
effect of their configuration in the clause, and of the division of the
clause into phonological phrases.
The relevance of phonological phrases consists in how their edges
discourage some kinds of clisis, blocking, for example, proclisis of
complementizers and conjunctions to their complements. Free clisis is
disfavored at phrase edges, producing the second-position effect. Thus, the
interface constraint approach leads to a unified account of word, phrase,
and clitic prosody.