Clitics and agreement

Clitics and agreement

Taylor Roberts

Ph.D. dissertation, MIT, March 2000
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Abridged and revised portion appears in Canadian Journal of Linguistics 46.1/2 (2001): 127-153


A phrase structure is developed for Pashto, the most important Indo-Iranian language for which this task remains to be undertaken. New data show that the placement, ordering, and interpretation of second-position clitics may be derived in the syntax by treating the clitics as agreement heads that identify null arguments in their specifiers. In contrast to previous accounts, the need for phonological operations is drastically reduced, being restricted to sentences containing only a verb (in which prosodic inversion applies as a last resort).

In the course of investigating the role of clitics with respect to argument structure and syntactic derivation, several novel phenomena are uncovered that do not exist in better studied languages. Some of the features scrutinized include compound verbs, agreement, aspect, ergativity, word order (scrambling), possessor raising and dislocation, ambiguity, relative clauses, and overt vs. covert movement.

Committee: Shigeru Miyagawa (chair), Ken Hale, Wayne O'Neil

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