13. Possessive clitics in the DP: Doubling or dislocation?

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Despite the extensive, long standing and multi-focused literature on clitics and clitic doubling in the clause, clitic doubling in the dp is a phenomenon still very little, if at all, understood. Our primary concern in this paper is to contribute to the literature on possessor doubling by looking at the co-occurrence of a possessive dp and a possessive clitic inside the Nominal Expression (NE). We will concentrate on two Balkan languages, Bulgarian and Greek, which are the only ones in the Balkan area to display productive use of clitic possessors in the NE. Despite appearances, in Greek and in Bulgarian NEs there are no cases of what in the clausal domain is standardly referred to as “clitic doubling”. This is <i>prima facie </i>an unexpected situation, given that both languages instantiate the two crucial properties that are at stake here: clitic doubling inside the clausal domain, and possessive clitics (genitive in Greek and dative in Bulgarian) inside the nominal domain. This ‘asymmetry’ calls for an explanation and this is what we attempt here. What we find with possessors in Bulgarian and Greek is what corresponds to clitic (left/right) dislocation. It turns out that possessor dislocation is allowed inside NEs as well as in clauses in Bulgarian, while in Greek it is only allowed in the clausal domain. This will be claimed to be the basic difference between the two languages and this difference will be reduced to the different way the dp splits in each language in order to host discourse-relevant features. Apparent doubling with strong possessive pronouns in Greek will be treated as a separate phenomenon tentatively accounted for in terms of the different properties of strong pronouns in each language.


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