Date of Completion


Embargo Period



syntax, Romanian, Serbian, code-switching, bilingualism

Major Advisor

Dr. Željko Bošković

Co-Major Advisor

Dr. Diane Lillo-Martin

Associate Advisor

Dr. Ian Roberts

Associate Advisor


Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation focuses on the syntactic aspects of Romanian-Serbian code-switching (CS). It explores a number of issues concerning several domains and theoretical mechanisms, especially the structure of the nominal domain, the structure and derivation of coordinated structures, cliticization (both second-position and verbal clitics), the nature of affixal articles, phases, and the mechanisms of Agree and case-licensing. In addressing these questions, a fundamental assumption is Bošković’s (2008, 2012) dichotomy which divides languages into NP (languages without articles) and DP (languages with articles). This distinction is especially relevant here, as the languages involved differ in this respect – Romanian having, and Serbian lacking articles.

Chapter 2 focuses on the TNP-internal CS, examining the interaction between Romanian definite articles, Serbian nouns, and Serbian adjectives. By examining the requirements of these elements, I propose a new mechanism for article cliticization involving Agree and Affix Hopping that can account for both Romanian and CS constructions.

Chapter 3 tackles the interaction between the nominal and the verbal domain through Left-Branch Extraction (LBE). Since the same nominal allows or disallows LBE in CS depending on its position, LBE is used to determine the points of CS, where CS within a phasal domain only affects that particular phasal domain, and not the entire structure.

Chapter 4 investigates coordinated TNPs in CS, further examining the behavior of NP vs. DP elements and showing that NP elements are more flexible than DP elements in terms of the switches they allow.

Chapter 5 focuses on clitics in CS, Romanian having verbal and Serbian second-position clitics. I show that word-internal CS is allowed as long as the elements involved do not form a morphosyntactic head (X0).

Chapter 6 looks at case assignment in CS. Romanian Case-assigners are shown to behave differently than Serbian Case-assigners in CS, with Serbian verbs behaving differently in CS than they do in Serbian.

Overall, while the findings illustrate relevant CS aspects, they highlight the functionality of analyzing elements outside of their input grammar, creating derivations that can exceptionally be found only in CS.