Published April 29, 2020 | Version v1
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The Romance Person Case Constraint is not about clitic clusters

  • 1. Anglia Ruskin University


This chapter provides further evidence that the Person Case Constraint (PCC) in
Romance is not limited to clitic clusters. Previously, this has been shown for Spanish (Ormazabal & Romero 2013), but I show that, in Italian, French, and Catalan
causatives, a 1st /2nd person direct object is incompatible not only with dative clitics but also with full dative arguments (see also Postal 1989; Bonet 1991). This is
different from the manifestation of the PCC in ditransitive contexts where only
dative clitics are ruled out. The difference follows, I argue, if ditransitives in these
languages have two underlying structures so that a DP introduced by a/à can be
either dative or locative, in line with broader cross-linguistic patterns (see Harley
2002; Demonte 1995; Cuervo 2003 on Spanish; Anagnostopoulou 2003; Fournier
2010 on French; Holmberg et al. 2019 on Italian, and the discussion in the introduction to this volume). For this reason, indirect object DPs marked with a/à must
trigger PCC effects in causatives but not in ditransitives, as only in the former are
they unambiguously dative. Further support for this claim comes from Spanish,
a language which morphologically distinguishes locative vs. dative phrases in ditransitives via clitic doubling (Cuervo 2003) and which shows PCC effects with all
animate direct objects (Ormazabal & Romero 2007, 2013). I show that these facts are
compatible with approaches to the PCC based on intervention (Anagnostopoulou
2003, 2005 amongst others), but raise challenges for those which rely crucially on
the weak/clitic status of datives (Bianchi 2006; Stegovec 2017).



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