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A Minimalist Approach to Clitics and Clitic Doubling in Spanish

Banfi, Cristina S.; (1999) A Minimalist Approach to Clitics and Clitic Doubling in Spanish. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This dissertation addresses questions concerning cliticisation within the framework of the minimalist approach as presented, among others, by Chomsky (1995a). Chapter 1 presents the basic tenets underlying the minimalist approach. It also briefly discusses the historical developments within generative grammar which have led to the adoption of a minimalist approach. Chapter 2 presents general background on cliticisation and clitic doubling, including theories such as the Movement and Base generation theories which have been advanced to account for the behaviour of clitics. The theory of Clitic Voices presented by Sportiche (1992), a synthesis of previous analyses, is also presented and adopted as providing a more principled account of clitics in clitic-doubling constructions. In Chapter 3 the traditional classification of clitics in terms of their Case properties is abandoned in favour of a more fundamental one based on other features of clitics such as [± person] and [± number]. This characterisation leads to the postulation of a maximum of two clitic phrases for Spanish, each associated with different feature compositions. This feature system takes into account both phi-features and aspectual features of the predicate associated with the clitics. This proposal allows a unified analysis of a number of constructions, previously viewed as distinct, under the more general umbrella of clitic doubling. Chapter 4 provides an account of the alternation between enclisis and proclisis found in Spanish as well as other Romance languages. This alternation is explained by reference to the features present on the verbal host which trigger movement in cases of enclisis. In an extension of the analysis of the relation between a clitic and its host, an account of interpolation in Old Spanish is also discussed. Chapter 5 discusses the restrictions apparent in instances of clitic doubling with respect to the features of the doubling element, e.g. [± pronominal], [± human], and [± specific]. A parallel is drawn between these restrictions and similar patterns found in ergative languages. Finally, Chapter 6 shows how the conclusions reached in this thesis can be seen to apply to broader concerns of language acquisition and language impairment.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Minimalist Approach to Clitics and Clitic Doubling in Spanish
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121057
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