This volume examines the behavior of clitics both in Italian and in certain southern Italian dialects in order to show that, even within a single language, clitics exhibit different properties. Monachesi argues against the existence of a special class 'clitics' whose elements exhibit variable behavior. Instead, she decomposes and assimilates their properties to those of well established categories. Motivations are thus provided for treating Italian object clitics as affixes. It is shown that both their morphosyntactic and their phonological behavior argue in favor of this assumption. Under this view, a lexicalist analysis is proposed which takes into account the phonological, morphological, and syntactic properties of Italian clitics.
Using data from a variety of languages, this book investigates the place of clitics in the theory of language structure, and their implications for the relationships between syntax, morphology and phonology. It is argued that the least powerful theory of language requires us to recognise at least two classes of clitics, one with the syntax of independent phrases and the other with the syntax of inflectional affixes. It is also argued that prosodic conditions may influence the surface position of clitics beyond what may be accomplished by filtering potential syntactic structures. Finally, the relationship between syntactic, morphological, and phonological constituents within wordlike elements is explored.