When Moldovan meets Russian

Intralinguistic variation in clitic climbing



This article offers an analysis of Moldovan complex predicates, focusing on the differences between structures with aspectuals and modals. It is shown that, under the influence of Russian, a minor pattern found in old Moldovan, whereby aspectuals and embedded infinitives instantiate a monoclausal construction, was generalized. As a consequence, pronominal clitics became free to raise to the matrix aspectual predicate, since they were no longer blocked by phasal (CP) barriers. Conversely, modal predicates, which select in both Russian and Moldovan full CP-complements, do not display clitic-climbing since clitics cannot skip over phasal boundaries. Following an overview of Romance and Slavic complex predicates, Moldovan complex predicates containing both aspectual and modal verbs are analysed. In this analysis infinitival complements and subjunctive complements, which show different syntactic behaviours, especially with respect to the phenomenon of clitic-climbing, will be treated separately. Finally, the special case of Moldovan within (Daco-)Romance is discussed, since Moldovan appears to be the only variety which has started to systematically display clitic-climbing out of subjunctive clauses introduced by să. 


restructuring contexts, clitic climbing, aspectual verbs, modal verbs, language contact


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