Clitic Climbing and Presuppositional Negative Markers in Occitano-Romance Verbal Complexes. Exploring the Crossroads of Micro-Syntactic Phenomena



In this paper we propose that verbal clusters with restructuring verbs contain a defective embedded clausal boundary. Additionally, this paper constitutes a methodological and empirical contribution to syntactic microvariation in Occitano-Romance varieties: we describe the synchronic variation in the expression of presuppositional postverbal negation and the position of clitics in infinitival complex structures. This empirical study contributes to the understanding of the micro-syntax of negation and clitics as independent phenomena. However, the interaction of both phenomena brings to light the structure of three types of verbal clusters: restructuring verbs, non-restructuring verbs and control predicates. Crucially, the data collected highlight that, although clitic climbing and embedded presuppositional negation are independent phenomena, they can both be explained by the transparency of the embedded clausal boundary. We claim that restructuring verbs select for a defective embedded C/T. Ultimately, the article shows how the comprehension of phenomena in closely related varieties allows us to better understand the architecture of grammar.


Occitano-Romance, clitic climbing, verbal complexes, presuppositional negative markers


Aissen, J. & Perlmutter, D. 1983. Clause reduction in Spanish. In Perlmutter, D. Studies in Relational Grammar 1, 360-403. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Originally published Thompson, H. et al. (ed.). 1976. Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1-30.

Alonso, H. & Suïls, J. 1998. La no concordança dels verbs intransitius en català nord-occidental. Cahier d’Études Romanes 10: 5-24.

Alibèrt, L. 1935. Gramatica Occitana Segon Los Parlars Lengadocians. Tolosa: SEO.

Alsina, À. 2002. L’infinitiu. In Solà, J., Lloret, M.R., Mascaró, J. & Pérez-Saldanya, M. (eds.). Gramàtica del català contemporani, vol. 2, 2389-2454. Barcelona: Empúries.

Amadas, L. 2002. Tres arguments a favor de la naturalesa lèxica dels verbs aspectuals seguits d’una oració no finita. Llengua & Literatura 13: 113-164.

Antolí Martínez, J. 2015. Voler + infinitive in Catalan: From the imminence aspectual periphrasis to the epistemic and evidential marker (from the 13th century to the present day). Catalan Journal of Linguistics 14: 11-31.

Balza, I. 2012. On the functional vs. lexical nature of restructuring heads: Evidence for a fine-grained classification of restructuring modals. Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics 14(1): 71-109.

BaTelÒc: Basa Textuala per la lenga d’Òc. Laboratòri de linguistica CELLE-ERSS, Unitat Mixta de Recèrca del CNRS de l’Universitat de Tolosa Joan Jaurés (Myriam Bras, dir.).

Batllori, M. & Hernanz, M.L. 2013. Emphatic polarity particles in Spanish and Catalan. Lingua 128: 9-30.

Belletti, A. 2004. Aspects of the low IP area. In Rizzi, L. (ed.). The Structure of IP and CP: the cartography of syntactic structures, vol. 2, 16-51. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blasco Ferrer, E. 1986. La posizione linguistica del catalano nella Romania: Studio di morfosintassi comparata. Zeitschrift Für Romanische Philologie 102(1-2): 132-178.

Bok-Bennema, R. & Kampers-Manhe, B. 1994. Transparency Effects in the Romance Languages. In Mazzola, M.L. (ed.). Issues and Theory in Romance Linguistics: Selected Papers from the Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages XXIII, 199-217. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Breitbarth, A. 2014. The history of Low German negation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Burzio, L. 1986. Italian Syntax: A Government-Binding Approach. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Cardinaletti, A. & Shlonsky, U. 2004. Clitic positions and restructuring in Italian. Linguistic Inquiry 35 (4): 510-557.

Carrera, A. 2007. Gramatica Aranesa. Lleida: Pagès editors.

Chierchia, G. 2013. Logic in Grammar: Polarity, free choice, and intervention. Oxford: OUP.

Chomsky, N. 2001. Derivation by phase. In Kenstowicz, M. (ed.). Ken Hale: A life in language, 1-52. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. 2007. Approaching UG from below. In Sauerland, U. & Martin-Gärtner, H. (eds.). Interfaces+recursion=language? Chomsky’s minimalism and the view from syntax-semantics, 1-30. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Cinque, G. 1976. Mica. Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università di Padova 1: 101-112.

Cinque, G. 2001. Restructuring and the order of aspectual and root modalheads. In Cinque, G. & Salvi, G. (ed.). Current studies in Italian syntax: Essays offered to Lorenzo Renzi, 137-155. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Cinque, G. 2002. A note on ‘restructuring’ and quantifier climbing in French. Linguistic Inquiry 33: 617-636.

Cinque, G. 2006. Restructuring and Functional Heads. The Cartography of Syntactic Structures (Volume 4). New York: Oxford University Press.

Ciutescu, E. 2018. Defective causative and perception verb constructions in Romance. A minimalist approach to infinitive and subjunctive clauses. PhD thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Cornips, L. & Poletto, C. 2007. Field linguistics meets formal research: How a microparametric view can deepen our theoretical investigation (sentential negation). Unpublished paper presented at ICLaVE 4. University of Cyprus.

Espinal, M.T. 1983. Els verbs auxiliars en català. Bellaterra, UAB: Servei de Publicacions.

Espinal, M.T. 1993a. The interpretation of no-pas in Catalan. Journal of Pragmatics 19(4): 353-369.

Espinal, M.T. 1993b. Two squibs on modality and negation. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics 3: 113-138.

Espinal, M.T. & Tubau, S. 2016. Meaning of words, meaning of sentences, Building the meaning of n-words. In Fischer, S. & Gabriel, C. (eds.). Manual of Grammatical Interfaces in Romance Linguistics, 187-212. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Etxepare, R. 2014. Convergent evidence in the analysis of micro-syntactic variation. Seminaris del CLT (UAB).

Fortuny, J. 2008. The emergence of order in syntax. Linguistic Aktuell/Linguistics Today. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Gallego, Á. J. 2009. Defective C-T in Romance. Probus 21: 163-215.

Gallego, Á. J. 2015. Subjunctive Dependents in Iberian Romance: A Reprojection Account. Sintagma 27: 25-42.

Gallego, Á. J. 2016. A phase-theoretic approach to cliticization in Romance. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone 9(1), 67-94.

Garzonio, J. 2008. A case of incomplete Jerspersen’s in Romance. Rivista di Grammatica generativa 33: 117-135.

Gavarró, A. & Laca, B. 2002. Les perífrasis temporals aspectuals i modals. In Solà, J. (et al.) (eds.). Gramàtica del català contemporani, 2663-2726. Barcelona: Empuries, v. 2.

Gómez, G. 2011. Gramàtica del català rossellonès. PhD thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Gonçalves, A. 1999. Predicados Complexos Verbais em Contextos Infinitivo não preposicionado do Português Europeu. PhD thesis, Universidade de Lisboa.

Gonçalves, A., Cunha, L.F. & Silvano, P. 2010. Interpretação temporal dos domínios infinitivos na construção de reestruturação do português europeu. In Brito, A. et al. (eds.). Textos Seleccionados do XX Encontro Nacional Da APL, 435-447. Porto: APL.

Grano, T. 2015. Control and Restructuring. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hernanz, M.L. & Rigau, G. 1984. Auxiliaritat i reestructuració. Els Marges 31, 29-51.

Hualde, J.I. 1992. Catalan. London: Routledge.

Institut d’Estudis Catalans. 2016. Gramàtica de la llengua catalana. Barcelona: IEC.

Juge, M. L. 2007. Catalan’s place in Romance revisited. Catalan Review 21(1): 257-277.

Kayne, R. 1975. French syntax: the transformational process. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kayne, R. 1989. Null subjects and clitic climbing. In Jaeggli, O. & Safir, K.J. (eds.). The Null Subject Parameter, 239-261. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Kayne, R. 1991. Romance clitics, verb movement, and PRO. Linguistic Inquiry 22(4): 647-686.

Kiparsky, P. & Condoravdi, C. 2006. Tracking Jespersen’s cycle. In Janse, M. et al. (eds.). Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Modern Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory, 172-197. Mytilene: Doukas.

Ledgeway, A. 2013. Testing Linguistic Theory and Variation to their Limits: The Case of Romance and its Dialects. Corpus 12: 271-327.

Ledgeway, A. 2017. Marking presuppositional negation in the dialects of Southern Italy. In Cruschina, S. et al. (eds.). Studies on Negation. Syntax, semantics, and variation, 105-130. Göttingen: V&R unipress, Vienna University Press.

Llop, A. 2017. La reanàlisi dels minimitzadors en el contínuum romànic pirinenc. PhD thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Llop, A. 2020. Perspectives diacròniques en la variació microsintàctica sincrònica. Reanàlisis i cicles en els sistemes negatius del català i d’altres varietats del contínuum romànic pirinenc. Lleida: Publicacions de la Universitat de Lleida.

Llop, A. & Paradís, A. 2019. La posició dels clítics i les marques de negació pressuposicional en els contextos de restructuració. Caplletra [International Journal of Philology] 66: 153-178.

Manzini, R. & Savoia, L. 2005. I dialetti italiani e romanci. Morfosintassi Generativa, volume 3. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.

Mascaró, J. 2020. On the meaning of adversative pas negation. Seminar presented at the Centre de Linguistica Teòrica – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 28th February 2020.

Matushansky, O. 2006. Head Movement in Linguistic Theory. Linguistic Inquiry 37: 69-109.

Mavrogiorgos, M. 2010. Clitics in Greek: A Minimalist Account of Proclisis and Enclisis. [Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 160]. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Modesto, M. 2016. Inflected infinitives and restructuring in Brazilian Portuguese. In Kato, M.A. & Ordóñez, F. (eds.). Morphosyntax of Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America, 157-176. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Napoli, D.J. 1981. Semantic Interpretation vs. Lexical Governance: Clitic Climbing in Italian. Language 57: 841-887.

Oliviéri, M. & Sauzet, P. 2016. Southern Gallo-romance (Occitan). In Ledgeway, A. & Maiden, M. (eds.). The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages, 319-349. Oxford: OUP.

Paradís, A. 2018. Variation in the scope of clitic climbing: evidence from Catalan dialectal data. Revue Roumaine de Linguistique LXIII 3: 281-295.

Paradís, A. 2019. L’ascens dels clítics: reestructuració i control. PhD thesis, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Picallo, M.C. 1990. Modal verbs in Catalan. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 8: 285-312.

Poletto, C. 2017. Negative Doubling: In favour of a “Big NegP” analysis. In Cruschina, S., Hartmann, K. & Remberger, E.V. (eds.). Studies on Negation. Syntax, semantics, and variation, 81-104. Göttingen: V&R Unipress, Vienna University Press.

Richards, M.D. 2007. On feature Inheritance: An argument from the phase impenetrability condition. Linguistic Inquiry 38(3): 563-572.

Rizzi, L. 1976. Ristrutturazione. Rivista Di Grammatica Generativa 1: 1-54.

Rizzi, L. 1982. Issues in Italian Syntax. Dordrecht: Foris.

Rizzi, L. 1997. The Fine Structure of the Left Periphery. In Haegeman, L. (ed.). Elements of Grammar: Handbook of Generative Syntax, 281-337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Roberts, I. 1997. Restructuring, head movement and locality. Linguistic Inquiry 28: 423-460.

Roberts, I. 2010. Agreement and head movement: Clitics, incorporation and defective goals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rochette, A. 1988. Semantic and Syntactic Aspects of Romance Sentential Complementation. PhD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ronjat, J. 1937. Grammaire historique des parlers provençaux modernes. Vol. 3. Montpellier: Société des Langues Romanes.

Schwenter, S. 2006. Fine tuning Jespersen’s Cycle. In Birner, J. & Ward, G. et al. (eds.). Drawing the boundaries of meaning: neo-Gricean studies in pragmatics and semantics in honor of Laurence R. Horn, 327-344. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Sentí, A. 2022. Evidentiality in Catalan. In Wiemer, B. & Marín Arresse, J. I. (ed.). Evidential marking in European languages (toward a unitary comparative account), 287-330. Berlin: De Gruyter (Studia Typologica).

Solà-Pujols, J. 2002. Clitic climbing and null subject languages. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 1: 225-255.

Terzi, A. 1994. Clitic climbing from finite clauses and long head movement. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics 3, 97-122.

Torrego, E. 1998. The Dependencies of Objects. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Tubau, S., Déprez, V., Borràs-Comes, J. & Espinal, M.T. 2018. How speakers interpret the negative markers no and no… pas in Catalan. Probus 30(1): 121-167.

Uriagereka, J. 1995. Aspects of the Syntax of Clitic Placement in Romance. Linguistic Inquiry 26: 79-123.

Uriagereka, J. 2002. Evidential contexts. Ms, UMD.

Villa-García, J. 2019. Clitic climbing (or lack thereof) and the Copy Theory of Movement. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 4(1): 84, 1-19.

Villalba, X. 1994. Clitic climbing in causative constructions. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics 3(2): 123-152.

Wiklund, A. L. 2007. The syntax of tenselessness: Tense/mood/aspect-agreeing infinitivals. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wurmbrand, S. 2001. Infinitives: Restructuring and Clause Structure. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wurmbrand, S. 2015. Restructuring cross-linguistically. In Bui, T. & Özyildiz, D. (eds.). Proceedings of the North Eastern Linguistics Society Annual Meeting 45, 227-240. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, GLSA.

Zanuttini, R. 1997. Negation and clausal structure. A comparative study of Romance languages. New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zeijlstra, H. 2004. Sentential Negation and Negative Concord. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam.

Zubizarreta, M.L. 1982. On the relationship of the lexicon to syntax. PhD thesis, MIT.




Download data is not yet available.