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Title: Reflexive Clitics in the Slavic and Romance Languages. A Comparative View from an Antipassive Perspective.
Authors: Medova, Lucie
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Romance Languages
Slavic Languages
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Princeton University
Abstract: In this work, I offer a unified analysis of all the constructions that involve a reflexive clitic SE in Slavic and Romance languages. Next to canonical constructions, in which the reflexive clitic semantically identifies the two arguments of a transitive verb, cf. John SE wash means John washes himself, there are constructions in which it is not possible to identify the arguments in this way, cf. anticausatives as The glass SE broke does not entail that the glass broke itself, it just broke. Inherently reflexive verbs do not exist without the reflexive clitic, certain prefixes cause the morpheme SE to appear in Slavic languages ROZ-rain *(SE) with a certain Aktionsart shift. Finally, there are impersonals and middles, in which the reflexive clitic SE seems to play the role of an unspecified human subject Cars SE sell means Cars are sold (by people)/People sell cars. The thesis is built in two steps. First, I consider possible derivations of the constructions with the reflexive clitic SE in Slavic and Romance and following Kayne (1986) and Alboiu et al. (2004) I propose that all the constructions are derived by movement: the argument that winds up as NOM starts out within the VP shell and moves to the NOM position. SE, on this view, is a morpheme that ‘blocks’ the argument from becoming a direct object. This derivation is superior to the argument structure derivations (as they face the problem of ECM constructions, cf. Marantz (1984)) and derivations that connect the morpheme SE to the internal argument position (they predict the SE constructions to be transitive, contrary to the facts). Second, I claim that the reflexive clitic SE is an antipassive morpheme of the sort known from the ergative languages. This connection is clearly supported by the range of constructions that are created by the reflexive clitic SE in Slavic and Romance languages on one hand and antipassive morphemes in ergative languages on the other. In both language types, the particular morpheme (very often) creates also anticausatives, constructions with Aktionsart shift. I derive both antipassives and constructions with the reflexive clitic SE in a parallel fashion within the Peeling Theory of Case (Starke (2005), Starke (2006)).
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