French clitic movement without clitics or movement

Abstract : The French clitic system has posed a persistent challenge to transformational syntactic analysis, which has never produced a successful account of problems such as clitic ordering. Lexicalist alternatives, however, have never been reconciled with the full range of familiar problems and the growing body of known lexical idiosyncracies. We present a lexicalist treatment of the French clitic system that treats all ‘clitics’ as lexical pronominal affixes, whose ordering is templatic in nature. On our account, the order of French pronominal affixes is independent of the general properties of syn- tactic structures; cliticized words – treated as valence-reduced realizations of verbal lexemes – enter the syntax fully inflected. The conclusions we reach challenge grammatical architectures that seek to explain the behavior of clitics in terms of functional projections, head movement and/or the Mirror Principle.
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Philip Miller, Ivan Sag. French clitic movement without clitics or movement. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Springer Verlag, 1997, 15 (3), pp.573-639. ⟨http://www.hum.uu.nl/medewerkers/p.monachesi/ESSLLI01/lastmillsag.pdf⟩. ⟨hal-01235282⟩

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