Vol. 6 (2020)

The propredicative clitic in Italo-romance: a micro-parametric variation approach

Paolo Lorusso
NEtS Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia
Andrea Moro
NEtS Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia
Published September 10, 2020
  • Agreement,
  • Clitics,
  • Definiteness,
  • Nominal Copular Constructions,
  • Propredicatives
How to Cite
Lorusso, P., & Moro, A. (2020). The propredicative clitic in Italo-romance: a micro-parametric variation approach. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 6, 97-124. https://doi.org/10.13128/qulso-2421-7220-9697


In this paper we describe the distribution of propredicative clitics in nominal copular constructions across different Italo-romance varieties. Different lexical items are recruited from the lexicon to cliticize the predicative NP, all of them either lack inflection or show a neuter inflection: the ‘uninflected’ status of propredicatives, in fact, is an available option among the categorical status of different pronouns. The characteristics of propredicatives across Italo-Romance confirms the predictions of the analysis of Moro (1997: 1) copular constructions allow only one agreement projection (agreement with the subject of the copular sentence and not with the predicate), 2) the proforms are generated in N0 rather than a D0. This analysis challenges the ‘definite’ analyses of romance l-clitics (which date back to Postal 1966): such proposals often invoke the parallel between clitics and definite articles as a reason to treat clitics as belonging to the category D. We will also show that apparent counterexamples found in some varieties in which the proforms agree in gender and number with the nominal predicates rely on semantic restrictions and ellipsis. We will finally update the proposal of Moro (1997) in terms of the labelling algorithm (Moro 2009; Chomsky 2013; Rizzi 2016): the N0 cliticization involved in the propredicative items allows a D0 in situ within the small clause which label the small clause, which otherwise will be unlabelled and imply a crash in the derivation.


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