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Thread: Serbian (BCS) and other Slavic languages: "to" as a clitic in variable word order

  1. #1
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    Serbian (BCS) and other Slavic languages: "to" as a clitic in variable word order

    Hello everyone!

    My understanding of the Serbian clitic chain is that it usually comes after the first stressed word in a sentence in the following order:

    1. BE.AUX (except 3sg pres)
    2. PersPron.DAT
    3. PersPron.ACC
    4. /se/ (REFL)
    5. /je/ (or /ju/) (BE.AUX.3sg pres)

    My question is can other words, such as the dem. /to/ be used in the position of a clitic even though it's in the nominative?

    Consider the following Czech sentences meaning "It is white wine." Bold means stressed:

    (a) To je no.
    (b) Je to no.

    Is this, or something similar, possible in Serbian? Sure, the context of (a) and (b) is different. In (a), the demonstrative is emphasized, in (b) the only emphasis is placed on "bílé víno".

    Please, any comments, further questions, opinions, ideas, complaints and the like, are welcome and highly appreciated! ;-)

    Best,

    P.

  2. #2
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    (a) To je no.
    (b) Je to no.
    (a) To2 je belo/bijelo1 vino (not the red one). 1 stressed stronger because it distinguishes the type (of wine), to is stressed because it's 1) demonstrative (That there is... ) 2) at the beginning of the sentence and optional 3) to give a tone of determination (to [pause] je belo vino)

    (b)(Je) Jeste1 to belo2 vino. (That is indeed a white wine). But sentences starting with BE.AUX are not often heard in everyday conversations, only when there is a need to stress that "something is something".
    Last edited by Vanja; 10th January 2013 at 3:17 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vanja View Post
    (a) To2 je belo/bijelo1 vino (not the red one). 1 stressed stronger because it distinguishes the type (of wine), to is stressed because it's 1) demonstrative (That there is... ) 2) at the beginning of the sentence and optional 3) to give a tone of determination (to [pause] je belo vino)

    (b)(Je) Jeste1 to belo2 vino. (That is indeed a white wine). But sentences starting with BE.AUX are not often heard in everyday conversations, only when there is a need to stress that "something is something".
    Thanks a lot, Vanja. Let me ask two more questions, if I may...

    1) So, in (b) /to/ is an enclitic(-like), right? What if it meets with some other enclitics (the enclitics proper), how is its relative position determined?
    2) In fact, in both (a) and (b) the verb biti is a copula rather than an auxiliary, right?

    Best,

    P.

  4. #4
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    (b) is not possible in Serbian -- verb je is always* a clitic. If you need to emphasize the demonstrative or the object, you would need to modify your intonation:

    To je belo vino. (It is water in the other bottle.)
    To je belo vino. (The red wine is next to it.)
    To je belo vino. (Not an apple juice.)

    There is also the long (stressed) form of the verb, jeste, that can be placed more freely in the sentence.

    To jeste belo vino./Jeste to belo vino. (Although you said it wasn't.)

    *) It is not clitic only in collocation Je li, so one can start a sentence with it: Je li to belo vino?.

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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    Thanks a lot, Vanja. Let me ask two more questions, if I may...
    1) So, in (b) /to/ is an enclitic(-like), right? What if it meets with some other enclitics (the enclitics proper), how is its relative position determined?
    No, to has lexical stress in both sentences. Actually, in a), it will become the anchor for the clitic: ['to:je 'be:lo 'vi:no].

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    2) In fact, in both (a) and (b) the verb biti is a copula rather than an auxiliary, right?
    Right.

  6. #6
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Duya View Post
    No, to has lexical stress in both sentences. Actually, in a), it will become the anchor for the clitic: ['to:je 'be:lo 'vi:no].



    Right.
    Perfect, many thanks Duya, that's exactly the answer I needed! :-)

    So, /to/ won't be clitical even after/before the full form /jeste/, will it? It'll still be stressed, though with less emphasis than the copula, right?

    Once again, thanks a lot for your response!

    Best,

    P.

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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Since you asked about other Slavic languages...

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    Consider the following Czech sentences meaning "It is white wine." Bold means stressed:

    (a) To je no.
    (b) Je to no.
    In Slovenian:

    To je belo vino. = "This is a white wine."

    Je to belo vino? = The changed word order makes the sentence interrogative: "Is this a white wine?" However, to is still not a clitic.

  8. #8
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Thanks a lot, TriglavNationalPark! :-)

    Is it possible to use the first (SVO) order in a question (so as to express surprise, for instance)? And, similarly, is it possible to have VSO in a declarative sentence?

    Thanks again!

    P.

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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    So, /to/ won't be clitical even after/before the full form /jeste/, will it? It'll still be stressed, though with less emphasis than the copula, right?
    I think (but I'm not sure, and there are probably exceptions), that our lexemes are either clitic or not, i.e. they do not alter from clitic to stressed and vice versa depending on the sentence. It is certainly possible for a word to obtain more or less lexical stress, and it is not always easy to analyse their status in rapid speech. Thus, to should be treated as always having a stress, and its syllable is even long (which is, by the way, not a criterion, there are clitics with long vowel, such as je (=ona:nju, 'her') ).

  10. #10
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    Re: Clitics in Serbian (and the other Slavic languages)

    Quote Originally Posted by Petusek View Post
    Thanks a lot, TriglavNationalPark! :-)

    Is it possible to use the first (SVO) order in a question (so as to express surprise, for instance)? And, similarly, is it possible to have VSO in a declarative sentence?

    Thanks again!

    P.
    Yes, you can use the first (SVO) word order as a question (to express surprise) by changing the stress. However, the second word order (VSO) cannot be used as a declarative sentence; the word order invariably marks it as a question.

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