[Lingtyp] Morphologically complex clitics?

Spike Gildea spike at uoregon.edu
Wed Mar 31 13:51:31 UTC 2021

Chapter 4 of Rebecca Paterson’s 2019 University of Oregon dissertation, Nominalization and predication in U̠t-Ma'in, describes the Associative Construction, in which an Associative Marker, e.g. ɘ̀ ‘assoc’, bears two noun classification morphemes, a prefix indexing the head N of the construction and an enclitic indexing the dependent N, e.g. rān t-ɘ̀=m wɘ́r ‘leaf ag6-assoc=c6m length’, ‘leaves of length’ (i.e. ‘long leaves’). This Associative Complex may encliticize to the preceding head noun (1b) or to the following dependent noun (2), and in a number of lexicalized combinations, she transcribed the combination of head N, Associative Complex, and dependent N as a single phonological word, as in (3)

(1)                a. wà-kɘ̄n               nɛ̄t           wā           wɘ̀          gágɘ́n

    c1-there        person  c1.def   c1.Rel  married

    [NHEAD[[=agHEAD-assoc=cMOD]AssocC             NMOD]AssocP]AssocCxn

b. nētá=j-  ̀ -u                                                                      íbò

   woman=ag7-assoc=c1                              Igbo.person

   ‘...a certain person who married an Igbo woman...’

     [NHEAD          [[agHEAD-assoc=cMOD-]AssocC  NMOD]AssocP]AssocCxn

(2)           wā=vástɛ̀         m̄-ʃɘ́ːs       [kɔ́ːr             [d-  ̀=u-tɘ̄tɘ̄rsɛ̀]]

c1.subj=end    c5-filling   basket          c5-assoc=c3-third

‘he finished filling the third basket’ (PS_IY_Ror 2013: 014)


rèmɘ̀tmɛ̀n       ‘stomachache’



‘pain of abdomen’


From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Tim Zingler <timzingler at unm.edu>
Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 4:41 AM
To: florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch <florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch>, lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Morphologically complex clitics?

off the top of my head, I could only think of the connective in Fwe, about which Gunnink (2018: 167) says that it consists of a stem and a pronominal prefix. I'm not an expert on the language, but I think it fits the definition.

min-we            i-ó=                 mu-ánce
NP4-finger       PP4-CON         NP1-child
‘the fingers of the child’ (Gunnink 2018: 167)

The grammar can be downloaded here:

This is a very interesting inquiry, by the way. Thanks for starting this discussion.


From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch <florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch>
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 5:35 AM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: [Lingtyp] Morphologically complex clitics?

Dear all,

I am looking for examples of morphologically complex clitics — i.e., g-words that a) do not form their own p-words and b) consist of multiple morphemes. Below are some of the few examples I have found. In (1-2), it is an encliticized copula which carries person inflection. In (3), the verb complex consists of a finite verb, a converb, and an auxiliary, each their own g-word. Both the finite verb and the auxiliary are inflected for first person and therefore morphologically complex.

(1) Trió (Cariban)
    'I am playing' (Meira 1999: 180)

(2) Ecuadorian Quechua
    paj  mana wasi-bi=t͡ʃu=ga-n
    3PRO NEG  house-LOC=NEG=be-3
    'S/he is not at home.' (Muysken 2010: 197)

(3) Nangikurrunggurr (Southern Daly)
    jawul karicinmade ŋebem=wuɹic=ŋiɹim                catma
    spear bent        1SG.S.bash.PRS=fix=1SG.S.sit.PRS straight
    'I'm sitting straightening this bent spear.' (Reid 2003: 114)

I am grateful for any further examples of such patterns, or references to literature on morphologically complex clitics.



Universität Bern

Institut für Sprachwissenschaft

Florian Matter

Länggassstrasse 49

CH-3012 Bern

Tel. +41 31 631 37 54

Raum B 168

florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch<mailto:florian.matter at isw.unibe.ch>

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