The canonical clitic

Andrew Spencer, Ana Luís

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Andrew Spencer and Ana Luís propose a characterization of the notion of canonical clitic based on the idea that clitics fall between canonical function words and canonical affixes. The authors first propose a set of putative canonical properties for affix and for function words. They then propose a set of criteria for clitics based on standard characterizations of clitics in the literature. They argue that there is no single set of properties which set clitics apart from affixes/function words and that the correct characterization of the canonical clitic is as an element with the form of a canonical affix but the distribution of a canonical function word. A variety of repercussions that follow from this approach are discussed, including the position of special clitics in the typology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCanonical Morphology and Syntax
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191746154
ISBN (Print)9780199604326
StatePublished - Nov 8 2012


  • Affix
  • Canonical typology
  • Clitic
  • Function word
  • Phrasal affix


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