‘Instead of prepositions, some languages have postpositions. They function like prepositions in that they indicate a semantic relationship between other entities, but instead of preceding the noun or noun phrase they follow it. Compare the Japanese postpositions with the English prepositions below:

Japanese Postpositions

Taroo no
hasi de
Tookyoo e

English Prepositions

of Taro
with chopsticks
to Tokyo

The placement of prepositions before a noun, which seems natural to speakers of English (and French, Spanish, Russian, and many other languages), would seem unnatural to speakers of Japanese, Turkish, Hindi, and many other languages that postpose rather than prepose words in this lexical category.’

– Finegan. E. 2008. Language, Its Structure And Use Stamford, CT, United States: Cengage Learning (2012) p. 39


In morphology and syntax, a clitic or cliticum is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase. It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level. It never receives a

Clitics may belong to any grammatical category, though they are commonly pronouns, determiners, or adpositions.

Note that orthography is not a good guide for identifying clitics: clitics may be written as independent words, bound affixes, or separated by special characters. For instance an apostrophe.

A proclitic appears before its host.

English: an apple

French: Je t’aime. – I youlove. = I love you

Ancient Greek: ἄνθρωποςthe person

An enclitic appears after its host.

Latin: Senatus Populusque Romanus – “Senate people-and Roman” = The Senate and Roman people

Ancient Greek: ánthrōpoí (te) theoíte – “people (and) gods and” = (both) men and gods

A mesoclitic appears between the stem of the host and other affixes.

Portuguese: Ela leváloia. – She take-itCOND. = She would take it.

The endoclitic splits apart the root and is inserted between the two pieces. Endoclitics defy the Lexical Integrity Hypothesis (Lexicalist Hypothesis) and so were long claimed to be impossible, but evidence from the Udi language suggests that they do exist.Endoclitics are also found in languages like Pashto and are reported to exist in Degema.

On a completely different note; in cryptic language-comedy the term has been used to refer to a medical specialist in the branch of gynaecology.