The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 5/5 - Marios Mavrogiorgos

Speaker: Marios Mavrogiorgos
Title: V-movement to a V-related head and enclisis: a view from finiteness sensitive and Tobler-Mussafia languages
Location: 32-D461
Time: Thursday, May 5, 12:30-1:45pm

The proclisis-enclisis alternation is found in most languages having clitic pronouns. One basic observation made by many researchers is that clitic languages can be distinguished into two basic types depending on whether finiteness plays a role in the alternation or not. In the literature there have been different analyses of enclisis. For example, we can find both syntactic and PF approaches either for finiteness sensitive languages or for non finiteness sensitive languages, or for both. However, most of the existent analyses face problems, and moreover it is not clear what underlies the basic distinction between the two language types. In this talk I will propose a unified analysis for both finiteness sensitive and non finiteness sensitive languages. My main claim will be that enclisis arises in both language types only when V moves across the cliticization site to a V-related head (in the sense of Chomksy 1993, Rizzi 1997). The finiteness factor will be reduced to impoverished person agreement that correlates with V-related features in a head higher than the cliticization site, which trigger V movement. The difference between the two language types wrt. to their sensitivity in finiteness will be accounted for as a difference in the spelled-out morphology of different types of V-related features in each language type: agr/mood features in finiteness sensitive languages/structures vs. affective features in non finiteness sensitive languages. Checking of V-related features in both language types will be argued to be subject to an economy principle which requires that the feature is checked by an overt element which is either a head or a spec. In this respect, two types of features will be distinguished: V-related features, which carry a PF-requirement and give rise to enclisis, and non V-related features, which do not carry a PF requirement and which correlate with proclisis. According to this distinction, enclisis is seen as morphological (re)ordering of V-related heads. A theoretical implementation of this basic intuition will be provided, and further typological and other issues will be discussed.