Syntactic Echoes of Pronominal Cliticization and Grammaticalization: The Case of Old High German First‐Person Plural ‐mes
by Katerina Somers (Queen Mary University of London), Mary Allison, Matthew Boutilier, Robert Howell (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
The origin of first person plural (1PL) ‘long’ forms of the type faramês/‐mes ‘(we) go’ in Old High German (OHG) is one of the most intractable problems in the history of the Germanic languages. Because these forms are confined only to OHG and have no obvious parallel elsewhere in Germanic or Indo‐European, most of the tools of the comparative method are of little use, with the result that the many accounts put forward over the past two centuries rely on a series of unlikely and ad hoc assumptions. What is more, previous work has focused on the one aspect of the problem that scholars are least likely to solve given the array of texts we presently have at our disposal, while paying little attention to what we argue is the more promising line of inquiry. That is, existing studies discuss in detail the possible morphological sources of ‐mes and their phonological development and focus little on the syntactic environments in which verbs inflected with ‐mes occur. We intend to reverse this trend through a comprehensive examination of ‐mes across the OHG corpus, with a particular focus on two of its major monuments, the OHG Tatian and Otfrid’s Evangelienbuch; this analysis shows that the syntactic distribution of ‐mes‐inflected verbs point to the suffix being diachronically and synchronically pronominal. Thus, we conclude that ‐mes must have arisen as the result of pronominal cliticization, a suggestion first put forth by Kuhn (1869) and Paul (1877).
Changes in status and paradigms? On subject pronouns in medieval French
by Michael Zimmermann (University of Konstanz)
This paper addresses the debate on the morpho‐syntactic status of subject pronouns in the pre‐modern stages of the French language by reinvestigating this issue along with that of the number of paradigms of such elements. On the basis of a collection of the various evidence provided in the literature as well as hitherto ignored and novel empirical insights, the paper discusses the different views put forward and essentially argues that, in its medieval stages, French had two paradigms of, respectively, strong and phonologically clitic subject pronouns. From this finding as well as standard assumptions on the modern (standard) stage of the language the paper eventually concludes that, diachronically, French evinces continuity, rather than changes regarding the two issues under investigation.
Accented Clitics in Hittite?
by Andrei Sideltsev (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences)
Hittite attests two distinct second positions, occupied by (a) Wackernagel enclitics; (b) non-Wackernagel enclitics -(m)a, -(y)a as well as stressed indefinite and correlative pronouns. I argue that Hittite provides novel data on the syntax-prosody interface as reflected in the operation of the second position constraint: the words belonging to group (b) combine properties which are typically ascribed to stressed and unstressed second position constituents. These findings show that the boundary between the stressed, syntactically conditioned second position exemplified by Germanic verb-second and the unstressed, phonologically conditioned second position of Wackernagel enclitics is much more blurred than is commonly acknowledged.
Enclisis/proclisis alternations in Romance: allomorphies and (re)ordering
by M. Rita Manzini & Leonardo M. Savoia (Università di Firenze)
Romance clitic pronouns appear to the left of the verb in I and to the right of the verb in C. This alternation correlates with (a) allomorphy, specifically l- vs. zero; (b) stress shifts; (c) reordering of the clitic string. The alternations in (a)-(c) are also observed between non-negative and negative contexts. The key points of our analysis are: (i) the l- segment is associated with definite content; (ii) interpretively, pronouns scope out of modal/non-veridical operators; (iii) syntactically, the exponent for modality/nonveridicality may have the pronoun in its domain; (iv) externalization of the l- segment is found when semantic scope (ii) and syntactic configuration (iii) are mismatched. Therefore allomorphies (including also stress), far from being morphophonological quirks, contribute to the externalization of syntactico-semantic notions of nonveridicality. In dealing with clitic (re)ordering we propose a model based on the dissociation between Merge and linear order. Phrasal constituents are ordered to the right of the verb in Romance; clitics mirror them in that they are ordered to the left, while keeping the Merge relations constant.