Richard L. Watson      

SIL International




Iambic effects and Cliticization in Pacoh


As a Mon-Khmer language of the Katuic subgroup,Pacohdisyllabic word structure is typically ‘sesquisyllabic’. First syllables are unstressed and restricted in phoneme inventory. Although CV main syllables have a choice of 18 vowels, CV presyllables are limited to /a, i, u/. Although CVC main syllables have a choice of 30 vowels, CVC presyllables are limited to schwa and final C of a nasal or liquid.Although there is a tendency in Mon-Khmer toward monosyllabicity, Pacoh is noteworthy in having a large number of disyllabic words and more prefixes than most. However, some forms that were previously labeled 'prefix' (Cf. S.Watson, M. Alves) are better identified as 'clitics'. The same iambic effects that characterize presyllables and prefixes have contributed to several free words developing clitic forms that only occur before monosyllabic roots. The same iambic effects involved in grammaticalization effect both clitics and affixes (Cf. Keller and Gregerson).

Anderson (1995:16) wrote that simple clitics could all be handled by phonological rules so were not of grammatical interest, but in Aspects of the Theory of Clitics (2005:22) he shows that even simple clitics can have syntactic consequences. The development of some Pacohclitics hasnot be pinned down tophonologicalrules,but the iambic effectsare clear. None involve syntactic reordering, butseveralhave syntactic consequences.

If iambic effects coupled with head-initial word order contribute to formation of clitics in Pacoh, why do we hear so little of clitics in Mon-Khmer languages? If the free forms are required to precede two syllable words can clitics ever fully grammaticalize?



Alves, Mark J. Pacoh Pronouns and Grammaticalization Clines. In Shoic Iwasaki, Andrew Simpson, Karen Adams & Paul Sidwell, eds. SEALSXIII: papers from the 13th meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (2003). Canberra, Pacific Linguistics, 2007, pp.1-12.

Anderson, Stephen. 1995. "Rules and Constraints in Describing the Morphology of Phrases." In Chicago Linguistic Society 31 Vol. 2: The Parasession on Clitics, pp. 15­-31.

____. 2005. Aspects of the Theory of Clitics. Oxford Studies in Theorectical Linguistics, 317.

Keller, Chuck and Ken Gregerson. "A note on Iambic Effects and Grammaticalization in Krung Grammar." (Ms. 2007)

Watson, Saundra. 1966. Verbal affixation in Pacoh. Mon-Khmer Studies 2:15-30.