Clitics in dependency morphology

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Clitics are challenging for many theories of grammar because they straddle syntax and morphology. In most theories, cliticization is considered a phrasal phenomenon: clitics are affix-like expressions that attach to whole phrases. Constituency-based grammars in particular struggle with the exact constituent structure of such expressions. This paper proposes a solution based on catena-based dependency morphology. This theory is an extension of catena-based dependency syntax. A syntactic <i>catena</i> is any word or any combination of words that are continuous with respect to dominance. Likewise, any morph or any combination of morphs that is continuous with respect to dominance form a <i>morph catena</i>. Employing the concept of morph catena together with a hyphenation convention leads to a parsimonious and insightful understanding of cliticization.


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