[Lingtyp] odd clitic behaviours

Riccardo Giomi rgiomi at campus.ul.pt
Mon Dec 6 14:10:50 UTC 2021

Dear all,

Another case which I think can hardly be accounted for if the crucial
difference between affixes and clitics is simply 'promiscuity' is that of
Romance diminutive affixes that can attach to both nouns and verbs,
following the root but preceding the class-specific inflection: e.g.
It. *-icchi
*[ikj] (N: *avvocat-icchi-o, *'incompetent, unreliable lawyer'; V:
*dorm-icchi-are*, 'take a nap, sleep discontinuously'); Pt. -*isc *[iʃk]
(N: *chuv-isc-o*, 'slight rain'; V: *namor-isc-ar*, 'have a flirt'). If we
regard these as clitics owing to their promiscuity, then we would be forced
to analyse the inflectional endings to their right as clitics as well
(since of course a clitic cannot separate an affix from its host). Note
that, in most of these cases, it is impossible to just assume that the
morpheme attaches to a nominal base which is then converted into a verbal
one (or vice versa).


Vladimir Panov <panovmeister at gmail.com> escreveu no dia segunda, 6/12/2021
à(s) 12:11:

> P.S. A colleague has just pointed out that according to Martin's recent
> paper (https://zenodo.org/record/4628279#.Ya3vGypBxPY), the Latin
> inflectional endings are indeed not affixes, sorry for having overlooked
> it. This is very counterintuitive, but it really may be the right way to
> look at them.
> пн, 6 дек. 2021 г. в 11:33, Vladimir Panov <panovmeister at gmail.com>:
>> Dear Alex & all,
>> I cannot help joining this discussion as the topic is extremely
>> interesting and very controversial.
>> Here I would like to mostly reply to Martin. For a while, after having
>> read your whole series of articles on the issue, I have found your
>> definition of clitics very useful and the least controversial, and I have
>> used it myself in my own work. However, recently, I have realized that it
>> is not completely unproblematic either. Here are a couple of controversies,
>> which are mostly related to the notion of promiscuous attachment.
>> (a) Let's say that "attaches to" means "immediately precedes or follows".
>> But then if we take, say, the European prepositions, in many cases this is
>> true that they "attach" to words of different syntactic classes. Say, in
>> "in sum" in attaches to a noun "sum", "in a house" it attaches to the
>> indefinite article, and "in these beautiful houses" it attaches to a
>> deictic element, and then an adjective follows as well. However, the set of
>> elements* in* is able to attach to is limited to what constitutes the
>> English noun phrase (it cannot attach to verbs or adverbs). Therefore,
>> *in* always attaches to the English noun phrase from the left, no matter
>> what constitutes it. Therefore, it is kind of "promiscuous" in your strict
>> sense, but it is not promiscuous on a higher level, therefore it is also a
>> kind of a prefix. This made many linguists talk of "phrasal affixes", which
>> makes sense after all. Moreover, if we take a language in which a noun
>> obligatorily occupies the first slot in the noun phrase such a Hebrew (if
>> we ignore the article), then it turns out that its prepositions are not
>> promiscuous, whereas those of English are, which is very counterintuitive,
>> I would say. Rather, it would be more intuitive to say that in both Hebrew
>> and English prepositions attach to the noun phrase from the left, but the
>> orders of elements within their noun phrases are different.
>> (b) One can look even closer at the elements whose attachment is
>> promiscuous, but whose promiscuity is very limited. For example, adjectives
>> and nouns are definitely different word classes in Latin. However, they
>> share a large part of their inflectional endings. Indeed, we have *lup-us
>> bon-us* 'wolf-nom.sg.m good-nom.sg.m' and *lup-a bon-a* 'wolf-nom.sg.f
>> good-nom.sg.f'. Then it turns out that according to your definition, the
>> inflectional endings of Latin are to be treated as clitics in
>> cross-linguistic studies. Is this a good solution?
>> I still believe that with your definition, we are on the right path, but
>> maybe we need some more specifications.
>> Best,
>> Vadimir
>> ср, 1 дек. 2021 г. в 08:53, Alexander Rice <ax.h.rice at gmail.com>:
>>> Dear typologists
>>> I'm working with a variety of Quechua, I have a set of three morphemes.
>>> They and their equivalents in related varieties are traditionally analyzed
>>> as evidential enclitcs or suffixes.
>>> However in some data that I've been working with recently I've noticed a
>>> couple of interesting behaviours of these enclitics:
>>> 1) They sometimes manifest as pro-clitics but only on the copular verb
>>> and in a much more phonologically reduced from
>>> 2) At least one of the three appears to manifest as a phonologically
>>> independent "word'. A native speaker with whom I work sometimes transcribes
>>> the clitic as a separate word, and upon my review of the recordings, many
>>> of these do appear to be phonologically independent from what would usually
>>> be the phonological host, and in some instances, they occur at the
>>> beginning of an intonational unit.
>>> I wonder if any of you have encountered or know of similar phenomena,
>>> any references would be most appreciated.
>>> Best,
>>> Alex
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Riccardo Giomi, Ph.D.
University of Liège
Département de langues modernes : linguistique, littérature et traduction
Research group *Linguistique contrastive et typologie des langues*
F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral fellow (CR - FC 43095)
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