Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 2, 2014

“Subject” clitics and particles in Provençal

Paola Benincà
From the journal Probus


Several Occitan dialects spoken in Western Piedmont exhibit no 1sg subject clitic form (a situation widely attested in Northern Italian dialects), although interrogative clauses with a 1sg subject feature an enclitic particle ke, identical to the complementiser. Many attempts have been made to interpret this ke as a reflex of Lat. E(G)O ‘I’ or originating from the reanalysis of the analogical -k displayed by verbs such as dik ‘I say’. Rather, I claim that ke is what it seems, namely the complementiser, and entertain the hypothesis that in these varieties the complementiser ended up satisfying EPP-like features.

To support this analysis, I examine data from a wider area including Provençal, Gascon and Ibero-Romance dialects in which the complementiser is used as a proclitic particle in assertive clauses (Etxepare 2010 a.o.). On the theoretical side, I submit the hypothesis that the peculiar behaviour of the complementiser ke in that area has to do with the checking of a ‘speaker’ feature in the left periphery of the clause.

Published Online: 2014-9-2
Published in Print: 2014-9-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston