[Lingtyp] Discourse connectives that do not occur at clause edges

Alex Francois alex.francois.cnrs at gmail.com
Mon Aug 9 10:41:04 UTC 2021

dear Ponrawee, dear all,

A note about Greek particles:

>  *As far as I know Wackernagel position is determined phonologically.*

Classical Greek indeed has many discourse particles that occur in
Wackernagel's position, i.e. immediately after the first word  (or
sometimes, after the first constituent).

However, only a subset of them are *clitics* strictly speaking:

τε 'and' (PIE *=kʷe),
γε 'at least',
νυ 'now',
τοι 'really',
που 'somehow',
πως 'in a way'...

In Classical Greek, clitics are defined by the absence of any inherent
accent, and thus the lack of prosodic autonomy; so indeed, these forms need
to "lean on" (κλίνω) the previous word to exist phonologically.  For those
words, it could even be argued (as Daniel pointed out) that their syntactic
position is really clause-initial, except they must occur in 2P for purely
phonological reasons.

However, many discourse particles appear in the same Wackernagel's
position, even though they bear their own accent:

δέ 'and also';  μέν ... δέ 'on the one hand..., on the other hand';  δή
'truly';  γάρ 'indeed';  οὖν 'therefore'; γοῦν 'at least then'...

[ NB: It is not rare to have whole strings of those P2 particles:
  e.g. Plato has :  Δοκεῖ *γε δή*. / Πάνυ *μὲν οὖν */ πολλάκις *μέν γε δή*
 /... ]

Those accent-bearing forms are not considered clitics, at least not in the
philological tradition, because their prosodic features do not depend on
the previous word.
Their systematic position as the second word therefore cannot be explained
just by phonological constraints:  one has to posit a special slot in the
clause, which is precisely what Wackernagel's position is.  That slot,
reserved to discourse particles and linkers, accommodates clitics as well
as non-clitics; rather than being purely determined by phonology, that slot
is thus of a syntactic nature.

Perhaps this makes Wackernagel's position relevant to Ponrawee's query?


Alex François
LaTTiCe <http://www.lattice.cnrs.fr/en/alexandre-francois/> — CNRS–
–Sorbonne nouvelle
Australian National University
<https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/francois-a>Academia Europaea
<https://www.ae-info.org/ae/Member/François_Alexandre> – Academia.edu
Personal homepage <http://alex.francois.online.fr/>

On Mon, 9 Aug 2021 at 11:05, Ponrawee Prasertsom <ponrawee.pra at gmail.com>

> Dear all
> Thank you for all the help so far.
> I was more interested in syntactically fixed connectives. As far as I know
> Wackernagel position is determined phonologically. In Thai I am not aware
> of an analysis that shows this is the case. The connective always occurs
> post-Subject even in case there is a fronted phrase etc. (So not strictly
> second in the sequence). However, I would love to learn more about the
> range of variation beyond my interest as well.
> Best regards,
> Ponrawee
> On Mon, 9 Aug 2564 BE at 15:45 Wiemer, Bjoern <wiemerb at uni-mainz.de>
> wrote:
>> Dear Ponrawee,
>> does your request also concern clitics (e.g., 2P-enclitics, also known as
>> Wackernagel clitics)? Your Thai example suggests that position is fixed
>> regarding the syntactic function. But do you have in mind also cases in
>> which some position is fixed simply in terms of linear sequence?
>> Best,
>> Björn.
>> *Von:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] *Im
>> Auftrag von *Ponrawee Prasertsom
>> *Gesendet:* Montag, 9. August 2021 08:00
>> *An:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>> *Betreff:* [Lingtyp] Discourse connectives that do not occur at clause
>> edges
>> Dear all,
>> Does anyone know of language(s) with a discourse connective (roughly
>> defined as any word that relates two event arguments expressed as clauses)
>> that
>> 1. Has a dedicated (fixed) position in the clause
>> 2. Does NOT occur clause-initial or -finally
>> The example I have in mind is Thai /kɔ̂ɔ/ and Lao /kaø/, which always
>> occur after the subject. I'm also wondering how much this is specific to
>> Southwestern Tai (or Kra-Dai more generally).
>> I appreciate every help. Thank you all in advance.
>> Best regards,
>> --
>> Ponrawee Prasertsom
>> Graduate student
>> Department of Linguistics
>> Chulalongkorn University
> --
> Ponrawee Prasertsom
> Postgraduate student
> MSc Evolution of Language and Cognition
> Centre for Language Evolution
> School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
> University of Edinburgh
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