The Status of Old French Clitics in the 12th Century

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This paper proposes a new analysis of 12th century Old French clitic pronouns as enclitics obeying independent constraints on positioning rather than simple proclitics on the finite verb, as they are traditionally considered. Several characteristics of 12th century OF clitics suggest that they are second position elements, and should be treated as independent from the verb, including their enclisis to preceding elements, sensitivity to the Tobler-Mussafia law, and clustering in second position. These behaviors are analyzed within an alignment approach to second-position effects, with clitics treated as instantiating agreement features and positioned post-syntactically (following Legendre 1998). The verb-second pattern in the language is given a parallel analysis where finite verb positioning is constrained by syntax but motivated by feature alignment.


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