Little Words: Their History, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, and Acquisition

By Ronald P. Leow; Héctor Campos et al. | Go to book overview

6
Applicative Phrases Hosting Accusative Clitics

LUIS SÁEZ

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

IN THIS CHAPTER I offer an explanation for the puzzling behavior exhibited in certain environments by a particular class of standard Spanish “little words”: accusative pronominal clitics. Those environments derive from the presence of a special sort of Spanish verbs that I will call “ayudar-verbs”; they are illustrated in (1):

Ayudar-verbs resemble standard dyadic monotransitives in the sense that they manifest a single internal object bearing accusative case. Accusative case assignment is evidenced in (2), where the object of (1) is substituted for by the accusative pronominal clitic la.1

Therefore, at first glance, any standard configuration for monotransitives might also be considered to be adequate for ayudar-verbs. In spite of this, in this chapter I will offer several pieces of evidence showing that a double object construction (DOC) underlies these verbs. This proposal will eventually explain the puzzling behavior exhibited by accusative pronominal clitics in these environments.


Puzzling Behavior of Accusative Clitics in
Ayudar-Verb Environments

The problem I will focus on here has to do with the so-called me-lui constraint (Perlmutter 1971). As is well known, this constraint dictates that a dative pronominal clitic cannot co-occur with a first-/second-person accusative clitic, as illustrated in (3) for Spanish:

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