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Clausal domains and clitic placement generalizations in Romance

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Abstract

Adopting the view that Romance object clitics adjoin to functional heads within the functional structure of clause, this chapter offers a novel approach to object clitic syntax in Romance, which brings together an array of clitic placement patterns across a variety of languages under one system. In order to explain why some &#8220;clausal domains&#8221; are available for clitic placement in some languages but not others, I examine a unidirectional entailment regarding object clitic syntax in simple and complex predicate clauses, in an understudied group of Italian dialects. The facts suggest that all Romance languages have the same series of functional heads within the clause, and as such, the inability of some varieties to place the clitic in a particular clausal domain cannot be attributed to the idea that some languages or structures are missing the appropriate functional head. Instead, I propose that the languages in question vary with respect to which junctures in the clause &#8220;divide&#8221; domains; this together with a theory of uninterpretable <i>feature spreading</i> allows us to capture the cross-linguistic patterns.

References

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