Committee: Richarda Kayne (co-chair, NYU), Cecilia Poletto (co-chair, University of Venice), Chris Collins (NYU), Alec Marantz (NYU), Mark Baltin (NYU)
In this dissertation: (i) I supply a new unified analysis for Subject Clitics (SCls) and Object Citics (OCls); (ii) I propose a purely syntactic account for clitic combinatorial patterns; (iii) I put forth a purely syntactic analysis for Bellinzonese locative ga and a new analysis for town nouns as well as for the multiple readings of ga and sa; (v) I argue that Romance languages have a directional preposition that is always null and paired up with an overt locative preposition; (vi) I put forward a new unified analysis for modal verbs; and finally (vii) I define how SCls and OCls interact with modals.
I argue that clitics are generated within the Left-Periphery of the DP. Clitics are and move as XPs. The hierarchy of functional projections found within the Left-Periphery of the DP consists of a rigid series of deictic, person, number, and Kase projections. This hierarchy is replicated at three levels of the syntactic representation: the vP-, the IP-, and the CP-layer. Crossing dependencies must be respected, while nesting movements are disallowed. My analysis of SCls and OCls allows me to shed new light on 5 apparently unrelated phenomena of syntax.
I show that SCls and OCls can consist of the same underlying morpheme and end up being incompatible because they compete for the same position at some point of the derivation.
The possible co-occurrences of clitics are due to movement and hierarchical constraints. Also, my perspective leads me to argue that clusters are Remnants and can be created at any point of the derivation. In addition, clitics with more than one reading are accounted for exclusively in syntactic terms. Romance languages only have a silent directional preposition that combines with a realized locative preposition.
Modals are non-primitives. They are the result of the incorporation of a root into null lexical have. Also, null categories are not all the same. Finally, I argue that clitic climbing targets different portions of the sentence cross- linguistically and depending on the modal. In Bellinzonese, clitic climbing in the case of duvé ('must (inf.)') targets the Wackernagel area in the CP.