Clitic Placement in Old French non-finite contexts

Marc Olivier

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


My research focuses on the evolution of word order in the diachrony of French under the scope of generative syntax. Pronominal clitics have been widely studied in Romance languages, which has led to the highlight of some peculiarities in the French language: French pronominal clitics are always preverbal (except with imperatives), whereas Spanish and Italian allow clitics to be either preverbal or postverbal, depending on the finiteness of the verb. In order to account for this difference in repartition, I study clitic placement in Old French (9th-13th c.). At that time, Romance languages are more similar, and I can capture a change in the grammar of French that illustrates the evolution of clitic placement in two contexts: preverbal clitics vanish from imperatival contexts, and postverbal clitics disappear from infinitival ones. My research uses data that I gathered from corpora, using a quantitative method. Since pronominal clitics did not exist in Latin but are present in all Romance languages, I suggest that Proto-Romance might have developed clitics in the same way, but that the evolution of the grammar of French has forced clitics to reorganise the way they position in the clause.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Apr 2019
EventADEFFI Postgraduate Symposium - Maynooth University, Ireland
Duration: 13 Apr 201914 Apr 2019


ConferenceADEFFI Postgraduate Symposium


  • Syntax
  • Old French
  • Diachrony
  • Word order
  • Pronouns
  • Clitics


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