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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2008, Vol. 39, No. 4, Pages 523-563
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2008.39.4.523)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Phonology and Syntax of Preverbal and Postverbal Subject Clitics in Northern Italian Dialects
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We argue that preverbal and postverbal subject clitics in northern Italian dialects are the same lexical items. The different forms of proclitics and enclitics can be explained phonologically (i.e., by phonological constraints ranked in a particular order) and by the hypothesis that morphologically neutral vowels may be inserted in final position (what we call morphological epenthesis). The distributional differences in the paradigm derive from a competition between overt clitics and null subjects that is resolved in an intricate way across sentence types and across dialects and that depends on the interaction of clitic and verb movement and on Minimize Structure.