The Clitic ‘lo’ in Italian, Propositional Attitudes and Presuppositions

  • Alessandro Capone
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 22)


In this chapter I have used pronominal clitics in Italian in combination with verbs of propositional attitude to shed light on the opacity effects caused by intrusive pragmatics (at the level of free enrichments/explicatures). Certain problems, as discussed by Schiffer (Propositional attitudes in direct-reference semantics. In: Jaszczolt, Katarzyna (ed) The pragmatics of propositional attitude reports. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 14–30, 2000), completely disappear when the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of propositional clitics are discussed and such considerations are extended to propositional attitudes in general. In this chapter, I will add that a propositional clause must be in an appositional relationship (resulting from free enrichment and, thus, not actually present in the syntax) with the that-clause embedded in verbs of propositional attitude. I consider the consequences of this position. One of the most cogent results of this chapter is that pronominal clitics refer back to full propositions (if they refer to propositions at all) and not to minimal propositions. I take my own considerations on clitics to give support to the interesting and important considerations on emergent presuppositions by Kecskes and Zhang (Pragmat Cogn 17/2:331–355, 2009).


  1. Anagnostopoulou, Elena (2007). Clitic doubling. In M. E. H. van Riemsdijk (Ed.). The Blackwell Companion to syntax. Oxford, Blackwell, 519–579.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Stephen R. (2005). Aspects of the theory of clitics. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aoun, Joseph (1996). Clitic-doubled arguments. Mn, University of Southern California.Google Scholar
  4. Ariel, Mira (2008). Pragmatics and grammar. Cambridge, CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Atlas, Jay David (1991). Topic/comment, presupposition, logical form and focus stress implicatures: the case of focal particles only and also. Journal of semantics 8, 127–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bach, Kent (2000). Do belief reports report beliefs? In: Jasczolt, K. (Ed.), The Pragmatics of Propositional Attitude Reports. Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 111–136.Google Scholar
  7. Blakemore, Diane (2000). Indicators and procedures: nevertheless and but. Journal of Linguistics 36, 463–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burton-Roberts, Noel (2005). Robyn Carston on semantics, pragmatics, and ‘encoding’. Journal of Linguistics 41, 389–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Capone, Alessandro (1997). Modality and discourse. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  10. Capone, Alessandro (2000). Dilemmas and excogitations: an essay on clitics, modality and discourse. Messina, Armando Siciliano.Google Scholar
  11. Capone, Alessandro (2001). Modal adverbs and discourse. Pisa, ETS.Google Scholar
  12. Capone, Alessandro (2002). Dilemmas and excogitations: further considerations on modality, clitics and discourse, in K. Turner, K. Jaszczolt (Eds.), Meanings in contrast, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 147–176.Google Scholar
  13. Capone, Alessandro (2003). Theories of presuppositions and presuppositional clitics, in Zeevat, H. , Rieser, H. & Kūhnlein (Eds.), Perspectives on dialogue in the new millennium, New York, John Benjamins, 111–133.Google Scholar
  14. Capone, Alessandro (2008). Belief reports and pragmatic intrusion (the case of null appositives). Journal of Pragmatics 40, 1019–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Capone, Alessandro (2010a). “Between Scylla and Charybdis”: the semantics and pragmatics of attitudes ‘de se’.Google Scholar
  16. Capone, Alessandro (2010b). On the social practice of indirect reports. Further advances in the theory of pragmemes. JP 42, 377–391.Google Scholar
  17. Capone, Alessandro (2011a). The attributive/referential distinction. Pragmatics, modularity of mind and modularization. Australian Journal of Linguistics 31/2, 153–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Capone, Alessandro (2011b). Default semantics and the architecture of the mind. Journal of Pragmatics 43, 1741–1754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Capone, Alessandro (2011c). Knowing how and pragmatic intrusion. Intercultural Pragmatics 8/4, 543–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Capone, Alessandro (2012). Between minds. Representing one’s own and others’ minds (through explicatures). D.Phil. dissertation in philosophy of language, University of Palermo.Google Scholar
  21. Cardinaletti, Anna (2001). Against optional and null clitics. Right dislocation vs. marginalization. Working papers in linguistics, University of Venice, vol. 11.Google Scholar
  22. Carston, Robin (2002). Thoughts and utterances: the pragmatics of explicit communication. Oxford, Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Castañeda, Hector-Neri (1966). “He”: a study in the logic of self-consciousness. Ratio 8. 130–157.Google Scholar
  24. Christophersen, P. (1939) The articles: A study of their theory and use in English. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.Google Scholar
  25. Cinque, Guglielmo (1990). Types of A-Dependencies. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Corver, Norber, Delfitto, Denis (1999). On the nature of pronoun movement. In H. C. van Riemsdijk (Ed.), Clitics in the languages of Europe. Berlin/New York, Mouton de Gruyter, 799–855.Google Scholar
  27. Delfitto, Denis (2002). On the semantics of pronominal clitics and some of its consequences. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 1, 41–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dobrovie-Sorin, Carmen (1990). Clitic doubling, Wh-movement, and quantification in Romanian. Linguistic Inquiry 21/3, 351–397.Google Scholar
  29. Enç Mūrvet (1991). The semantics of specificity. Linguistic Inquiry 22/1, 1–25.Google Scholar
  30. Farkas, Donka (2002). Specificity distinctions. Journal of Semantics 19, 213–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gunel, Jeanette K. (2003). Information structure and referential givenness/newsness: How much belongs in the grammar? In S. Mueller, ed. Proceedings of the HPSG03 conference. Stanford, CSLI.Google Scholar
  32. Gutiérrez-Rexach, Javier (2000). The formal semantics of clitic doubling. Journal of Semantics 16/4, 315–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Heim, Irene (1992). Presupposition Projection and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs. Journal of Semantics 9, 183–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Higginbotham, James (2003). Remembering, Imagining, and the First Person. In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 496–535.Google Scholar
  35. Hilbert, D., Bernays, P. (1939). Grudlagen der Mathematic. Vol. 2, 2nd edition. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, Springer.Google Scholar
  36. Holton, D. Mackridge, P., Philippaki-Warburton, I. (1997). Greek: a comprehensive grammar of the modern language. London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Horn, Laurence (2009). Implicature, truth and meaning. International Review of Pragmatics 1, 3–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Huang, Yan (2000). Anaphora. A cross-linguistic study. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  39. Huang, Yan (2007). Pragmatics. Oxford, OUP.Google Scholar
  40. Ionin, Tania (2006). ‘This’ is definitely specific: specificity and definiteness in article systems. Natural Language Semantics 14, 175–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Janse, Mark (2008). Clitic doubling from Ancient to Asia Minor Greek. In D. Kallulli, L. Tasmowski (Eds.), Clitic doubling in the Balkan languages. Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 165–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Karmiloff-Smith A. (1992) Beyond Modularity. A developmental perspective on cognitive science Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  43. Kecskes, Istvan, Zhang, Fenghui (2009). Activating, seeking and creating common ground. Pragmatics & Cognition 17/2, 331–355.Google Scholar
  44. Kecskes, Istvan, Zhang, Fenghui (2013). On the dynamic relations between common ground and presupposition. In Capone, A., Lo Piparo, F. (Ed.), Perspectives on Linguistic Pragmatics. Dordrecht, Springer.Google Scholar
  45. Kempson, Ruth (2012). The syntax/pragmatics interface. In K. Allan, K. Jaszczolt, Eds. The Cambridge handbook of pragmatics. Cambridge, CUP, 529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Leonetti, Manuel (2007). Clitics do not encode specificity. In Kayser, G., Leonetti, M. Eds. Proceedings of the workshop “Definiteness, specificity and animacy in Ibero-Romance languages”. Arbeitspapier, Fachbereich Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Constanz.Google Scholar
  47. Leonetti, Manuel (2008). Specificity in clitic doubling and in differential object marking. Probus 20/1, 33–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lepore, Ernie, Anderson, Luvell. (2013). Slurring words. Noûs.Google Scholar
  49. Levinson, S.C. 2000. Presumptive meanings. Cambridge Mass, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  50. Löbner, Sebastian (1985). Definites. Journal of Semantics 4, 279–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lyons, John (1987). Semantics. In J. Lyons, et al. (Eds.) New horizons in linguistics 2. London, Penguin, 152–178.Google Scholar
  52. Nicolle. Steve (1998). A relevance theory perspective on grammaticalization. Cognitive Linguistics 9/1, 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nocentini, Alberto (2003). The object clitic in Italian: a functional interpretation. In G. Fiorentino (Ed.), Romance objects. Berlin/New York, Mouton De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  54. Peregrin, J., von Heusinger, K. (2003). Dynamic semantics with choice functions. Mn.Google Scholar
  55. Prince, Ellen (1981). Toward a taxonomy of given-new information. In Cole, P., ed. Radical Pragmatics. New York: Academic. Pp. 223–56. 1981.Google Scholar
  56. Prince, E. F. (1992) ‘The ZPG letter: Subjects, definiteness, and information status’ In Mann, W. C. & Thompson, S. A. (eds.) Discourse description: Diverse linguistic analyses of a fund-raising text. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 295–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Recanati, Francois (2010). Truth-conditional pragmatics. Oxford, OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Roberts, Craig (1989). Modal subordination and pronominal anaphora in discourse. Linguistics & Philosophy 12, 683–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schiffer, Stephen (2000). Propositional attitudes in direct-reference semantics. In: Jaszczolt, Katarzyna (Ed.), The Pragmatics of Propositional Attitude Reports. Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 14–30.Google Scholar
  60. Sportliche, Dominique (1993). Clitic constructions. In J. Rooryck, L. Zaring (Eds.), Phrase structure and the lexicon. Bloomington, Indiana, IULC.Google Scholar
  61. Stanley, Jason (2007). Language in context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Stanley, Jason, Williamson, Timothy (2001). Knowing how. Journal of Philosophy 98/8, 411–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Suñer, Margarita (1988). The role of agreement in clitic-doubled constructions. Natural language and linguistic theory 6, 391–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Traugott, Elizabeth and Richard Dasher (2002). Regularity in Semantic Change. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Uriagereka, Juan (1995). Aspects of clitic placement in Western Romance. Linguistic Inquiry 23/1, 79–123.Google Scholar
  66. van Riemsdijk, Henk (1999). Clitics: a state of the art report. In: H.C. van Riemsdijk (Ed.), Clitics in the languages of Europe. Berlin, New York, Mouton de Gruyter, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. von Heusinger, Klaus (2002). Specificity and definiteness in sentence and discourse structure. Journal of Semantics 19, 1–30.Google Scholar
  68. von Heusinger, Klaus (2003). The double dynamics of definite descriptions. In J. Peregrin (Ed.). Meaning in the dynamic turn. Amsterdam, Elsevier, 150–168.Google Scholar
  69. von Heusinger, Klaus (2004). Choice functions and the anaphoric semantics of definite NPs. Research on language and Computation 2, 309–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. von Heusinger, Klaus (2011). Specificity. In: K. von Heusinger & C. Maienborn & P. Portner (Eds). Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Vol. 2,. Berlin: de Gruyter, 996–1025.Google Scholar
  71. von Heusinger, Klaus (2013). The salience theory of definiteness. In Capone, A., Lo Piparo, F. (Ed.), Perspectives on Linguistic Pragmatics. Dordrecht, Springer.Google Scholar
  72. von Heusinger, Klaus, Kaiser, Georg, A. (2003). The interaction of animacy, definiteness and specificity in Spanish. In: K. von Heusinger & G. A. Kaiser (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop “Semantic and Syntactic Aspects of Specificity in Romance Languages”. Arbeitspapier 113. Fachbereich Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz, 41–65.Google Scholar
  73. Warburton, Irene P. (1977). Modern Greek clitic pronouns and the ‘surface structure constraints’ hypothesis. Journal of Linguistics 13, 259–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Williamson, Timothy (1996). Knowing and asserting. The Philosophical Review 105/4, 489–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wilson, Deirdre, Sperber, Dan (2012). Meaning and Relevance. Cambridge, CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Winter, Yoad (1997). Choice functions and the scopal semantics of indefinites. Linguistics & Philosophy 20, 399–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zwicky, Arnold M. (1985). Clitics and particles. Language 61/2, 283–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Zwicky, Arnold M. (1995). What is a clitic. In J. Nevis, J.Joseph, D. Wanner, & A. Zwicky (Eds.), Clitics Bibliography. Amsterdam, John Benjamins.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Capone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

Personalised recommendations