Date of Completion


Embargo Period



clitics, clitic doubling, argument ellipsis, Slavic, DP/NP Parameter

Major Advisor

Zeljko Boskovic

Associate Advisor

Jonathan D. Bobaljik

Associate Advisor

Jon R. Gajewski

Associate Advisor

Jairo M. Nunes

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation explores the status of clitic pronouns by analyzing several morpho-syntactic and semantic phenomena, and by examining their implications. I analyze several peculiar restrictions on clitic doubling and other related cliticization phenomena in non-standard Serbian and Slovenian dialects, and explore their relevance for the general theories of clitic doubling. Additionally, I examine the availability of the full spectrum of clitic meanings in Slavic and Romance, and show that clitics in article-less Slavic languages exhibit the kind of semantic flexibility that is not found in article clitic languages (both Slavic and Romance). I then explore the implications of this finding for null arguments in East Asian languages.

The standard claim is that pronouns, including clitics, involve a D(eterminer) P(hrase) in all clitic languages, including article-less Slavic languages. Nevertheless, the data from the aforementioned phenomena show that clitics in article-less languages are strikingly different from clitics in article languages. Following Bošković (2008b, 2012), who contends that languages without overt articles lack a DP on top of the (full) N(oun) P(hrase), I extend this claim to clitics, ultimately arguing that clitics in article-less languages cannot enjoy the status of DPs, but of NPs. The major evidence comes from pronominal clitic doubling in non-standard Serbian and Slovenian (Chapter 2), noun doubling in non-standard Serbian and Iroquoian (Chapter 3), and the availability of the clitic sloppy interpretation in article-less languages (Chapter 4). Finally, I consider theoretical implications of the above and contend that the Argument Ellipsis Analysis (Saito 2007, i.a.), quite prominent in the work on Japanese null arguments, should be re-evaluated (Chapter 4). Specifically, I argue that clitics in article-less languages and null arguments in Japanese and other East Asian languages are both NPs, and that null subjects and objects in East Asian are not derived via ellipsis, as often assumed, but that they are null pronominal elements.