Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 641–672 | Cite as

Subject clitics in the Northern Italian vernaculars and the matching hypothesis

  • Margarita Suñer


The main objective of this paper is to show that the patterning of subject clitics in the Northern Italian vernaculars correlates with the interpretation of the subject referent: the agreeing subject clitic occurs whenever the referent of the subject can be positively identified, that is, is either specific or presupposed, while the neuter non-agreeing one materializes when the subject referent is unknown or newly introduced into the discourse. This is the expected situation on the general assumption that subject clitics are agreement morphemes which match the features of the constituent they are coindexed with. The advantage of this proposal is that it encompasses all the data without resorting to stipulative explanations for particular subsets of the phenomenon.


Artificial Intelligence General Assumption Matching Hypothesis Subject Referent Agreement Morpheme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margarita Suñer
    • 1
  1. 1.Modern Languages and Linguistics Morrill HallCornell UniversityIthacaU.S.A.

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