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Clitic Climbing without Restructuring in Czech and Polish

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Abstract

Originally proposed for Romance languages, mono-clausal analyses have been adopted to account for clitic climbing in Slavic, namely the restructuring approach of defective infinitival complementation. According to a strictly dichotomic approach as proposed by Rezac (2005) for Czech and Aljović (2004) for BCS, clitic climbing does not appear in bi-clausal environments, but from restructuring infinitives, which as bare VPs lack functional structure (νP, TP). As a consequence, restructuring infinitives neither are capable of licencing case and φ-features nor do they contain subjects (PRO). Under restructuring, clitics unavoidably move to a higher phrase for feature licencing due to the infinitive’s defectiveness. Correspondingly, the lack of restructuring forces the clitics to remain in situ, since they check their features within the domain of the embedded infinitive. Thus, clitic in situ positioning and clitic climbing are two mutually exclusive syntactic configurations. Using corpus data, it will be shown that predictions by the strictly dichotomic restructuring analysis are not borne out with regard to Czech and Polish. Clitics may climb from embedded infinitives, which show bi-clausal, i.e. non-restructuring properties: the infinitives are case-licensers, allow ambiguous pronominal binding, possess independent temporal reference, permit split-clitic constructions, or are adjuncts. If bi-clausality does not prevent clitics from climbing, then restructuring does not contribute to an understanding of clitic climbing and both phenomena should be regarded as independent from one another, at least in the languages explored here. If syntax proper cannot account for clitic climbing, it appears worthwhile to follow suggestions that draw attention to the role of information structure for clitic climbing and its ban across CP.

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