CUNY Syntax Supper: Jelena Runic (UConn)

OCT 01, 2013 | 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




October 01, 2013: 6:30 PM-8:00 PM




The aim of the talk is to shed light on the status of clitic pronouns by analyzing several hitherto unnoticed and/or unaccounted morpho-syntactic and semantic phenomena: 1. the availability of the full spectrum of clitic meanings in article-less Slavic languages and the lack thereof in article clitic languages (both Slavic and Romance); 2. clitic doubling and other related cliticization peculiarities found in non-standard Serbian and Slovenian dialects; 3. the asymmetry between Person-Case Constraint effects in Slavic and Romance. The empirical domain comprises Slavic and Romance languages, with a special emphasis on the South Slavic branch, analyzing the aforementioned phenomena in both standard vernaculars (Standard Serbian and Slovenian) and non-standard ones (Prizren-Timok Serbian and Gorica Slovenian). Special attention is devoted to Prizren-Timok Serbian (PTS), which generative linguistics has remained completely silent about. 

The standard claim is that pronouns, including clitic pronouns, involve a  D(eterminer) P(hrase)  in all clitic languages, including article-less Slavic languages (Progovac 1998, i.a.).  Nevertheless, the data from the aforementioned phenomena show that clitics in article-less languages are strikingly different from the clitics in article languages,  the status of clitics hence soliciting a thorough re-examination. Following Bošković (2008), who contends that languages without overt articles lack a DP on top of the (full) N(oun) P(hrase), I extend this claim to clitics, ultimately arguing that clitics in article-less languages cannot enjoy the status of DPs but of NPs.

Finally, I consider theoretical implications of the above account and contend that  the Argument Ellipsis analysis (Saito 2007, i.a.), quite prominent in the work on Japanese null arguments, should be re-evaluated. I will argue that clitics in article-less languages and null arguments in Japanese and other east Asian languages are both NPs and that null subjects and objects in East Asian languages are not ellipsis, as standardly assumed, but null clitics.

The CUNY Syntax Supper is a series of biweekly talks on syntax and its interfaces with semantics and morphology, given by students, faculty, and visiting scholars, usually from institutions in the greater Metropolitan area.

Syntax Suppers are held in room 7102 at the Graduate Center on Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Syntax Suppers are an ideal opportunity for speakers to present and discuss results of their ongoing research in an informal setting.