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From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Friday, October 29, 1999, 20:01
I don't know about clitics in the languages of the world; I only know
the definition of "clitic" in the Classical languages, and that is the
one I gave -- a short word which becomes part of another word for
accent purposes.

Since English accent, like Latin, tends to focus on word-endings
rather than word-beginnings, proclitics are more difficult to notice
than enclitics.  And since English accent is far more variable than
either Latin or Greek accent, I'm not sure what we'd look for to
detect modifications of an accent pattern due to attachment of a
clitic.  So I can't enlighten you on the status of "the."

I suppose one could look at other suprasegmental features rather than
accent to determine what is or isn't a clitic, but I'm not sure
exactly what.  Perhaps some linguists have already figured out a
reliable definition of "clitic" in English, and it was on such bases
that you were criticized before.  I'm afraid I'm not aware of them


Charles wrote:

> Ed Heil wrote: > > > In the classical languages at least, (en)clitics are defined, as Nik > > said, in terms of suprasegmental phonology. > > > Clitics don't have to be any special part of speech or have any > > special function; they just have to become part of another word for > > accent purposes. > > Last time, it was me who got beat up for saying "the" is not a clitic. > In some sense it is a "detachable clitic", because a whole crowd of words > can be between it and the noun. But the "clitic-clitic" (?) is really
> more closely, like "s'" + verb. Or something like that, sortamaybe. >