The phonology of postverbal pronouns in Romance languages
In many Romance varieties, the verb in imperative verb + (postverbal) pronoun phrases retains primary stress: Italian/Spanish: [kómpra]/[kómpra-melo] ‘buy!’/‘buy me it!’. However, in others varieties, stress in these phrases may be realized on a different syllable: [kompra-meló], [kompra-mélo], [kompra-mélozo]. In this paper, I address questions that have puzzled linguists for some time: Why is there a stress shift when enclitic pronouns are added to the imperative verb? How is the position of the stressed syllable determined? I propose that many factors are involved, including morpho-syntactic factors (the presence of a weak or a clitic pronoun, which are prosodized differently), phonological processes (the mapping of syntactic to prosodic structure), and phonetic processes (tonal association to metrically prominent syllables).