The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 10/28 - Filomena Sandalo & Charlotte Galves

Speakers: Filomena Sandalo & Charlotte Galves, UNICAMP (Brazil)
Title: Grammaticalization of enclisis in the history of Portuguese
Time: Thursday, October 28, 12:30-1:45pm
Location: 32-D461

In the history of European Portuguese, from the 16th to the 19th century, clitic-placement underwent significant changes with respect to the environments where enclisis obligatorily occurs. In this paper, we argue that the architecture of grammar proposed in Distributed Morphology (Embick and Noyer, 2001, 2006) can shed a light on this change. We analyze enclisis as the result of post-syntactic rules and we argue that the change involved a shift in the operation which displaces the clitic from Prosodic Inversion to Lowering, accounting for the different environments where enclisis obligatorily occurs across time. Moreover, the employment of such a view of the architecture of grammar allows us to interpret this shift as a case of grammaticalization, thus broadening the treatment of this concept in the framework of Generative Grammar. The traditional schema of grammaticalization includes two different moments (cf. the discussion in Askedaal, 2008). The first one has to do with the change in categorization accompanied by semantic bleaching. The second one consists of further steps of phonological dependency and reduction. Roberts and Roussou (2003) propose a generative account of the first moment in terms of the emergence of new functional words out of lexical words. In their approach, grammaticalization is associated with structural simplification, which they argue is a natural mechanism of change. Here we consider the next step. We show that the framework of Distributed Morphology, which proposes a view of Grammar Architecture that models up the articulation between Syntax, Morphology and Phonology, allows us to define a path of grammaticalization in terms of whether the rules responsible for the movement of morphemes access syntactic structures or not.