Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In linguistics, a clitic is a word that syntactically functions as a free morpheme, but phonetically appears as a bound morpheme; it is always pronounced with a following or preceding word. A clitic is either an enclitic, where the clitic is with the preceding word, or a proclitic, which is with the following word.
A word and a clitic attached to it are pronounced like a single word, which respects the usual rules of the language in question. For example, if a word must have one and only one stressed syllable, then a word with a clitic must too (the clitic is usually unstressed). Clitics are often written as separate words.
A clitic is not an affix. An affix syntactically and phonologically attaches to a base morpheme of a limited part of speech such as a verb, to form a new word. A clitic syntactically functions above the word level (i.e. on the phrase or clause level) and attaches only phonetically to the first, last, or only word in the phrase or clause, whichever part of speech the word belongs to.
In the Indo-European languages, some clitics can be traced back to Proto-Indo-European: for example, -kwe is the original form of Latin -que, Greek te, and Sanskrit -ca. This word means "and" and is said after the word being added, e.g. Senatus Populusque Romanus "Senate and People of Rome".
The English enclitics are:
- The abbreviated forms of be:
- 'm in I'm
- 're in you're
- 's in she's
- The abbreviated forms of personal pronouns:
- 'im in give'im a chance
- 'er in let'er go
- 'em in go get'em
- n't in couldn't
- 'll in they'll
- 've in they've
- 'd in they'd
- 's in the girl next door's cat
And the English proclitics are:
- a in a desk
- the in the house
- las aguas ("the waters") = /la'saguas/
- lo hicimos ("we made it") = /loi'simos/
- dámelo ("give it to me") = /'damelo/
Clitics in other languages:
- Latin: que and, ne (yes-no question)
- Greek: te and, de but, gar for (in a logical argument), oun therefore
- Russian: ли (yes-no question), же (emphasis), не not (proclitic), бы (subjunctive)
- Japanese: all particles, such as the genitive postposition no and the topic marker wa
- Dutch: 't definite article of neuter nouns and 3rd person pronoun, 'k 1st person pronoun, je 2nd person pronoun, -ie 3rd person pronoun (this one should not be written as a separate word)
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