Clitic incorporation and abstract semantic objects in idiomatic constructions

M.Teresa Espinal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyzes inherent clitics of idiomatic constructions as verbal arguments (Jelinek, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 2: 39-76, 1984; Baker, The polysynthesis parameter, Oxford University Press, 1996; Hale, On the significance of Eloise Jelinek's pronominal argument hypothesis, John Benjamins, 2003) that are translated as free variables (Delfitto, Catalan Journal of Linguistics 1: 41-69, 2002): they are anaphoric to a (hidden) nonreferential discourse topic or (right) dislocated constituent. Furthermore, since they denote abstract semantic objects (Asher, Reference to abstract objects in discourse, Kluwer, 1993), they are assumed to be semantically incorporated into the verb to which they are affixed at the syntax-semantics interface (Van Geenhoven, Semantic incorporation and indefinite descriptions, CSLI, 1998), either by unification of selecting features or by predicate modification of some role function of the event under consideration (Farkas and Swart, The semantics of incorporation, Stanford University Press, 2003; Dayal, A semantics for pseudo incorporation, Rutgers University, 2003). Whereas noun incorporation is a salient property of polysynthetic languages (as has been extensively argued in the linguistic literature Mardirussian, Chicago Linguistic Society 11: 383-389, 1975; Mithun, Language 60: 847-894, 1984), in this article the incorporation of clitics and nouns is argued to be a covert phenomenon of nonpolysynthetic languages, specifically in idiomatic constructions (Espinal, Property denoting objects in idiomatic constructions, John Benjamins, 2001). © 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1271
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Clitic incorporation and abstract semantic objects in idiomatic constructions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this