Clitics and coordination in linear structure

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In the context of lexicalist studies of Romance cliticisation, the development and rigorous application of diagnostic criteria (Zwicky and Pullum 1983; Miller 1992) for determining the lexical or syntactic status of linguistic items has always enjoyed a central role. As a result, there is a vast body of evidence in French and Italian (Miller 1992; Miller and Sag 1997; Monachesi 1996) that weak pronominals in these languages resemble ordinary bound affixes much more than true postlexical clitics. In particular, syntactic, semantic, morphological, and phonological criteria jointly militate against the view of Romance clitics as proper inhabitants of the syntactic world. As a side effect, the distinction between lexical affixes and postlexical clitics (Halpern 1995) is seen as a strict dichotomy, with little or no room for true morpho-syntactic hybrids. I will argue in this paper that transitional types do indeed occur, which are characterised by the fact that one group of criteria (e.g. morphological criteria) positively suggest syntactic opacity, while almost all syntactic criteria demand a degree of transparency. Based on data from clitic placement and coordination in European Portuguese (EP), I will suggest that the syntactic transparency is highly superficial in nature, and thus favours an account in terms of word order variation. This perspective, together with the fundamental distinction drawn within recent HPSG between constituent structure and linearisation will also prove capable of making appropriate predictions in the context of semantic idiosyncrasies.


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