In this contribution, we intend to offer an interesting exemplification of the kind of positive interaction that may arise between acquisition studies and linguistic theory. Starting from a full range of comparative studies showing the presence of a delay in the acquisition of the interpretive properties of non-reflexive pronominals and the absence of such a delay in languages where clitic pronominals are involved, we argue that this range of effects is elegantly derived from a general constraint on extra-lexical operations of valency-reduction, turning relations into one-place predicates. This analysis leads to a sort of cross-modular (re)interpretation of Principle B of Binding Theory and to a radically new analysis of the relation between (semantic) binding and coreference. Another important consequence of the proposed analysis is that it supports the view of Romance clitics as morphosyntactically encoding a lexical operation of reflexivization. In the second part of this article, we show that this analysis explains some intriguing and so far poorly understood asymmetries between reflexive and non-reflexive clitics arising within the domain of complex predicate constructions in Romance.
© Walter de Gruyter