Clitic doubling

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In linguistics, clitic doubling, or pronominal reduplication is a phenomenon by which clitic pronouns appear in verb phrases together with the full noun phrases that they refer to (as opposed to the cases where such pronouns and full noun phrases are in complementary distribution).

Clitic doubling is found in many languages, including Albanian, Arumanian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Degema, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Somali, and Spanish.

The conditions on clitic doubling vary from language to language, generally depending on well-known properties of the objects along the Animacy Hierarchy (allowing, requiring, or forbidding clitic-doubling for different kinds of objects). In this regard, clitic doubling for objects can be viewed as a species of Differential Object Marking.


Spanish is one well-known example of clitic-doubling language. Because standard Spanish grammatical structure does not draw a clear distinction between an indirect object and a direct object referring to a person or another animate entity (see Spanish prepositions), it is common but not compulsory to use clitic doubling to clarify. Compare:

Conocí a Juan. "I met Juan." (Direct object: a Juan)
Di un regalo a Juan. "I gave a gift to Juan." (Direct object: un regalo; indirect object: a Juan)

In such constructions, the indirect object can be expressed both as a full noun phrase and as a clitic in order to note that the noun phrase beginning with a (to) should be understood...
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