Upward P-cliticization, accent shift, and extraction out of PP

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The paper explores how syntax influences the mapping of clitics to the prosodic structure in a dialect of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS) that allows accent shift from nouns and adjectives to proclitics. I show that clitics preceding hosts of different morphological and syntactic complexity in the output of the syntax map to prosody differently. I establish a new correlation between the accent shift and the syntactic mobility of the host. Specifically, in a number of cases with adjectival hosts, accent can shift from the adjective to the proclitic preceding it only if the adjective is able to separate from the noun it modifies. I argue that prepositions in BCS cliticize to their host in the syntax in an upward fashion. I extend this analysis to a number of cases where non-constituents appear to be undergoing syntactic movement in BCS. The proposed analysis of cliticization also has important ramifications for the theory of phases and Abels’s (2003a) generalization that complements of phasal heads cannot move. I show that it explains away several cases where phasal complements appear to be moving out of phases in contexts with clitics, removing several potential problems for the phase-based system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1143
Number of pages41
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Accent shift
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian accent
  • Prosodic mapping
  • Syntactic cliticization
  • Syntax-phonology interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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