Among the most important aspects concerning cliticization and Clitic Doubling (CD) in particular in the literature on Romanian is the interdependence between the doubling clitic and pe marking1, the status of the clitic, the position occupied by the clitic (base generation vs. movement), the correlation between CD and specificity, the relation between CD and Clitic Left Dislocation etc.
One of the purposes of this presentation is to explore the exact contribution the clitic makes to the DP it doubles, focusing on indefinite direct object DPs.
Romanian CD always requires additional marking of the direct object DP by pe and CDed indefinites are restricted in the interpretations they may have, losing the non-specific readings available for unmarked indefinites. Hence, another issue to investigate regards the way in which this restriction comes about.
Furthermore, if two constituents are involved (the clitic and pe), what is the exact contribution each of them makes to the interpretation of the entire phrase? Both simple pe marked indefinites (which are not clitic doubled) and pe marked + clitic doubled ones are available options in Romanian and both variants have been argued to be non-ambiguously specific. Linguists vary in their opinions concerning which of the two elements is responsible for this interpretation2. Hence clarifying how matters stand in this respect would be important for the syntax and semantics of CD and DOM
One last issue addressed is capturing the semantic import of pe and the clitic within the framework of analysis provided by Discourse Representation Theory (DRT)3. The specific interpretation that the clitic contributes translates into uniqueness of reference for the discourse referent of the indefinite. Uniqueness of reference is captured by allowing a restriction on the properties of the assignment functions, assigning values to this discourse referent such that they must agree on the (unique) value they assign to it. Pe, on the other hand, is not a specificity trigger but a presupposition carrier for covert partitivity. One other contribution pe makes concerns its effect on the semantic type of the DP it marks, as it eliminates the possibility for this DP to have a property denotation. The partitive reading induced by pe is captured in DRT in terms of presupposition resolution in line with van der Sandt (1992).
1 The mechanism is also known by the name of Differential Object Marking (DOM) and was first coined as such by Bossong (1985).
2 Farkas (1978), Dobrovie-Sorin (1990) p. 388, Dobrovie-Sorin (1994) p. 234, Cornilescu (2000) p. 103 argue that pe induces specificity. On the other hand, Steriade (1980), Dobrovie-Sorin (1990) p. 377, Dobrovie-Sorin (1994) p. 224 Gierling (1997) p. 72 ff a.o. point to the correlation between specificity and clitic doubling. Tigău (2010), Chiriacescu & von Heusinger (2011a,b) p.1 a.o. consider that specificity is a joint effect of pe and CD.
3 DRT is a theoretical framework developed by Kamp & Reyle (1993), with the aim of bridging sentence-level semantics and dynamic, discourse-level aspects of semantic interpretation. The interpretation process involves updating the semantic representation with material that affects the truth conditional and the dynamic aspects of discourse. Thus, each new sentence is interpreted with respect to the contribution it makes to an already existing piece of (already) interpreted discourse. The interpretation conditions for sentences act as instructions for the updating of the representation of the discourse.