Auxiliary encliticization in 16th century Romanian: restrictions and regularities

Rodica Zafiu


This paper focuses on a specific case of variation between the (dominant) auxiliary-main verb order and the main
verb-auxiliary order. By analyzing a corpus of 16th-century texts, we describe certain regularities displayed by the
encliticization of the participle and the infinitive in the Romanian compound past and periphrastic future,
respectively (a phenomenon traditionally described as "auxiliary inversion"). We aim at offering a set of reliable data
about the relation between participle/infinitive fronting and the main vs. embedded status of the clause. The corpus
investigation demonstrates that in the 16th century the encliticization of the auxiliary is very rare in subordinate
clauses. In the 16th century, auxiliary encliticization mainly functions as a focalization strategy (as demonstrated by
Alboiu & Hill 2012), but the alternation between a preverbal and post-verbal auxiliary can be also interpreted as a
marker of solidarity between some syntactic blocks (free relatives/if-clauses - main clauses, coordinated main


auxiliary, word order, 16th-century Romanian, subordination, focalization

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