Clitic climbing in Spanish imperatives

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In Spanish, the aspectual verbs ‘come’ and ‘go’ allow an object clitic to climb out of their infinitival complement in finite and infinitival contexts but not in simple imperatives. This paper argues that the ban on clitic climbing in simple imperatives with aspectual ‘come’ and ‘go’ (not noted in the literature before) can be related to the (likewise novel) observation that in Hungarian these aspectual verbs show a similar restriction, which (following den Dikken 1999 ) can also be analysed as involving clitic climbing. The Hungarian facts crucially implicate Tense: there is a ban on clitic climbing from the complement of aspectual ‘come’ and ‘go’ in the simple present, not elsewhere. The empirical generalisation covering the data is that in aspectual ‘come/go’ constructions clitic climbing onto ‘come/go’ is possible only if the aspectual verb is marked for Tense. This generalisation directly captures the Hungarian facts, and extends to the Spanish cases on the independently supported hypothesis that Spanish simple imperatives are not marked for Tense (while subjunctives are, which takes care of the fact that these do allow clitic climbing).


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