frequency and agreement

Tom Givon tgivon at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Wed Apr 5 09:39:13 UTC 2000

Maybe it is time to mention (I may have missed it) that the kind of
"pragmatic variation" that one finds in Greek & Spanish (& many Bantu
lgs too, for that matter; there was a nice article on Zulu by Sr.
Euphrasia Kunene in the mid 1970's in Studies in African Linguistics
that described some of the early, non-obligatory ["pragmatic"] stages of
this) -- is but a diachronic stage in the rise of obligatory object
agreement. The frequencies creep slowly up the old "topicality
hierarchies", gradually inching toward 100% for some categories. So as
Ricardo Maldonado has pointed out, for several Latin-American varieties
of Spanish, Dative agreement is approaching obligatory status. So nobody
should be disturbed by finding less than 100% in any particular

In parenthesis, also, I think the term "clitic doubling" is a bit funny.
All these things begin rather innocently with L-dislocation or
R-dislocation constructions. Only within some very ancient versions
generative theory that perceive the contrast of PRO vs. NP as a totally
exclusive one (and does not recognize grammatical agreement as a
pronominal phenomenon, thus leading to the further hilarity of
"pro-drop"...) does this appear remarkable. TG
Hartmut Haberland wrote:
> Cases of 'clitic doubling' in Modern Greek are clearly not optional
> since clitic doubling in this language has a pragmatic function (roughly
> Topic marking, although this interacts in an intricate way with VS/SV
> word order). This doesn't mean you cannot do statistics on this
> phenomenon; but it is not a case of (socio)linguistic variation, rather
> it codes (pragmatic) meaning.
> The following two articles which I wrote with Johan van der Auwera
> mainly deal with clitic resumption in relative clauses, but contain
> ample references to the general discussion on clitic doubling:
> 1987. Doubling and Resumption in Modern Greek. In: Melétes gia tin
> ellinikí glóssa/Studies in Greek Linguistics. Proceedings of the 8th
> annual meeting of the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy,
> Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, 27-29 April 1987 (A Festschrift
> for John Chadwick), 323-334
> 1990. Topics and Clitics in Greek Relatives, Acta Linguistica Hafniensia
> 22:127-157
> (The latter reference is probably more easily accessible.)
> Regards, Hartmut Haberland

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