A Handbook of Slavic Clitics

A Handbook of Slavic Clitics

A Handbook of Slavic Clitics

A Handbook of Slavic Clitics

Synopsis

Clitics are grammatical elements that are treated as independent words in syntax but form a phonological unit with the word that precedes or follows it. This volume brings together the facts about clitics in the Slavic languages, where they have become a focal points of recent research. The authors draw relevant generalizations across the Slavic languages and highlight the importance of these phenomena for linguistic theory.

Excerpt

Over the past several years, interest in clitics has been rapidly growing due to the light they shed on the interaction between phonology and syntax, as well as on the nature of functional categories and X-bar syntax in general. Clitics have special properties that defy easy categorization within traditional generative models of grammar. They correspond to a wide range of grammatical and stylistic markers, are typically both prosodically and syntactically dependent on some host element (although not necessarily the same one), and often exhibit morphosyntactic behaviors of both heads and phrases. It is exceptional characteristics such as these that make clitics of such particular interest to theoretical linguists today. Their quirks and idiosyncracies offer an invaluable window into the workings of grammar, providing unique information about the structure of language and serving as a proving ground for many controversial claims.

Until recently, research on clitics within the generative paradigm either has been broadly typological in nature or has concentrated on clitic phenomena in the Romance languages. Work on Slavic languages was generally conducted against this broader backdrop or from the perspective of Romance clitics. However, a renewed and vibrant interest in formal Slavic syntax has emerged during the past few years, and thus the study of clitic systems is a focal point of this research. There is an increasing body of work directed toward the proper analysis of Slavic clitics, but much of this new material is for several reasons not generally accessible because papers are often presented at workshops or small conferences and are circulated privately, with the printed literature often appearing in obscure publications. Even more significant, most of the new clitic research is being conducted by general linguists, who generally do not specialize in Slavic as a whole and who, either by accident or design, often concentrate on a single Slavic language or clitic problem. There thus arises a two-way gap in communication: General linguists may not have . . .

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