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The Rise and Fall of Second-Position Clitics

Roumyana Pancheva
Natural Language & Linguistic Theory
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 2005), pp. 103-167
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4048018
Page Count: 65
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The Rise and Fall of Second-Position Clitics
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Abstract

Historical accounts of the phenomenon of cliticization have previously documented only the loss of second-position clitics. This paper argues that the history of Bulgarian offers evidence for the rise of a second-position clitic system. It is demonstrated that the second-position clitics of Old Bulgarian were not directly inherited from Indo-European, but emerged from a system of post-verbal clitics. The findings provide evidence against the position that independent historical laws govern 'natural' directions of language change. In particular, they challenge the belief in the uniform tendency for clitics to develop into inflectional affixes. Instead, the findings suggest that language change reflects competition between grammatical options, which instantiate principles and parameters of UG based on the properties of the learning algorithm and the nature of the linguistic input, and which are not intrinsically ranked. An analysis of the historical change that led to the development of second-position clitics in Old Bulgarian is proposed that implicates a switch in the parameter of headedness of TP. Clitics in both the old and new grammars are attracted by ${\rm T}^{0}$. A change in the position of ${\rm T}^{0}$ relative to its complement triggers the reanalysis of clitics from pronominals forming a complex head with ${\rm V}^{0}$ to pronominals moving to the left edge of TP. The non-branching status of clitics makes them category-ambiguous (${\rm D}^{0}/{\rm DP}$), which allows them to merge in the syntactic structure as either heads or maximal projections. The paper also traces the eventual loss of the second-position clitic system in Bulgarian and argues that changes in the grammar of phrasal movement, specifically the loss of topicalization to Spec, TP, trigger the syntactic reanalysis of clitics from arguments moved and adjoined to TP, into adjuncts to functional heads in the extended projection of ${\rm V}^{0}$, resulting in the modern pre-verbal clitic system.

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