Clitics in the wild : Empirical studies on the microvariation of the pronominal, reflexive and verbal clitics in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

Zrinka Kolaković   Edyta Jurkiewicz-Rohrbacher   Björn Hansen   Dušica Filipović Đurđević   Nataša Fritz  


This collective monograph is the first data-oriented, empirical in-depth study of the system of clitics on Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. It fills the gap between the theoretical and normative literature by including solid data on variation found in dialects and spoken language and obtained from massive Web Corpora and speakers’ acceptability judgements. The authors investigate three primary sources of variation: inventory, placement and morphonological processes. A separate part of the book is dedicated to the phenomenon of clitic climbing, the major challenge for any syntactic theory. The theory of complexity serves as the explanation for the very diverse constraints on clitic climbing established in the empirical studies. It allows to construct a series of hierarchies where the factors relevant for predicting clitic climbing interact with each other. Thus, the study pushes our understanding of clitics away from fine-grained descriptions and syntactic generalisations towards a probabilistic modelling of syntax.


  • Review in Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie 79.2 by Irenäus Kulik published November 22, 2023
    [...] Kolaković et al.’s study sets the benchmark for future research due to its comprehensive coverage of data and methodological rigor. This thought-provoking publication significantly contributes to the study of clitics not only in BCS, but more generally in Slavic and beyond. Researchers occupied with both clitics and intralinguistic variation will benefit from reading it.[...]



Zrinka Kolaković

Zrinka Kolaković currently holds a Postdoc position at the Department of Slavonic languages and literatures at the University of Klagenfurt. She is a linguist with a broad interest in various linguistic fields (morphology, syntax, pragmatics, and applied linguistics). Her research philosophy is based on triangulation of methods. In finding answers to how, why, where, and to what extent, she combines introspective, corpus linguistic, and psycholinguistic methods.

Edyta Jurkiewicz-Rohrbacher

Edyta Jurkiewicz-Rohrbacher is Associate Professor of Slavonic linguistics at the University of Regensburg. She graduated in Hungarian philology at the University of Warsaw and defended her PhD thesis, a contrastive corpus-driven study on aspect in Polish and Finnish, as a co-tutelle at the University of Helsinki and the University of Regensburg. Her current research focuses on complementation in Slavic and Uralic. Applications of empirical methods in the field of linguistics, in particular in translation and cross-linguistic studies, are among her other research interests.

Björn Hansen

Björn Hansen is Full Professor of Slavonic linguistics at the University of Regensburg. He has primarily worked on Polish, Serbian/Croatian and Russian, but also has an interest in areal typology. He has published several works on modality and the grammaticalisation of modal constructions. His current research focuses on language contact, functional syntax and lexical semantics, and in particular on pattern replication in Polish-German bilingual speech, indefiniteness, clitics and the language of corruption.

Dušica Filipović Đurđević

Dušica Filipović Đurđević is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade. She is dedicated both to teaching and to learning about the cognitive system and fascinated by its relationship to language. Her research focuses on understanding how the basic principles of learning and memory shape the structure of the language system. She combines behavioural studies, quantitative analyses, and computational simulations to gain an understanding of the links between language and cognition.

Nataša Fritz

Nataša Fritz is a PhD candidate at the University of Zagreb. In her doctoral thesis she developed a new syntactic-semantic approach to reconstruction of meaning in onomasiological diachronic semantics. Her field of interest includes a combination of classical philology, modern linguistic theories, models such as construction grammars, usage-based models, and cognitive linguistics.

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February 1, 2022
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Cite as
Kolaković, Zrinka, Jurkiewicz-Rohrbacher, Edyta, Hansen, Björn, Filipović Đurđević, Dušica & Fritz, Nataša. 2022. Clitics in the wild : Empirical studies on the microvariation of the pronominal, reflexive and verbal clitics in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.. (Open Slavic Linguistics 7). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5792972


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ISBN-13 (15)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)