Parsing clitics with GETARUN

Rodolfo Delmonte (Universita' Ca' Foscari - Venezia)


Clitic pronouns are used in many languages as pronominal substitutes
for obligatory and optional complements, as well as for adjuncts. In
this sense, clitics are in no way different from other pronouns apart
from the fact that certain languages like English, possess only one
type or series of pronouns in their pronominal system, so that
emphatic types can only be produced by suprasegmental means.

Italian possesses both emphatic and clitic pronouns, and also empty pronouns, which are in complementary distribution. Italian clitics can be used as unstressed pronouns, as expletives, as quantifiers, and as generic impersonal SUBJects. Clitics are case-marked lexical elements with morphological features which can only occupy one structural positions: preverbal in I' or postverbal affixed to the main verb.

The problem with the parsing of clitics is that their lexical case is ambiguous and cannot be used for a direct syntactic mapping in LFG terms. Rather, they will have to be assigned case structurally in relation to the maximal projection they will bind in relation to predicate-argument structure of their governing predicate. Parsing clitics requires a specially organized rule-sequence which takes into account both canonical and non-canonical clitic usage. Interesting cases are constituted by middle and impersonal SI constructions, as well as ergative and benefactive usage. Italian also allows a special partitive clitic, NE, which has to be interpreted as the restriction, in logical terms, of the quantified constituent it will bind in postverbal position.