Brazilian Venetan is going leísta

Clitic doubling and resumption in a heritage Romance variety


  • Alberto Frasson University of Wroclaw


This paper discusses language variation in heritage languages, focussing on a peculiar use of the dative clitic ghe in Brazilian Venetan, a heritage northern Italo-Romance variety. Corpus data and grammaticality judgments by native speakers showed that, unlike homeland varieties of Venetan, the clitic is used in doubling constructions with both indirect and direct objects. Conversely, accusative clitics do not appear in doubling constructions in Brazilian Venetan, but are limited to cases of resumption of dislocated constituents. This phenomenon is compared to a parallel use of dative clitics with direct objects in some previously described leísta varieties of Spanish. I will show that the type of variation attested in Brazilian Venetan accusative and dative clitics depends on different conditions on cliticisation of the two elements. Specifically, while accusative clitics are pronouns that undergo a morphological process of incorporation, dative clitics are merged as agreement markers on the finite verb. The analysis also captures a diachronic change in the distribution of dative clitics in the diachrony of Venetan.


clitics, doubling, resumption, heritage, syntax


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