Syriac Rhetorical Particles: Variable Second-Position Clitic Placement

Investigation on second-position clitic phenomena has steadily increased since Wackernagel’s (1892) observations. Researchers have applied contemporary clitic typology to various Semitic languages though Syriac has received little attention. This thesis identifies a group of Syriac rhetorical particles and describes their categorization as clitics, versus words or affixes. It establishes each of the Syriac particles as second-position clitics and provides evidence of this conclusion from a state-of-the-art digitized corpus of Syriac literature. Extending previous Syriac analyses, this thesis describes the nature of attachment of these second-position clitics as enclisis to either the first word or the first constituent/phrase of their domain. This variable clitic attachment behavior has been previously attested only in three other unrelated languages: Serbo-Croatian, Luiseño and Ngiyambaa. I discuss the analysis and application of these discoveries and their implications for future Syriac and linguistic research.

Thesis Author: Pearson, Patrick

Year Completed: 2015

Thesis Chair: Deryle Lonsdale

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