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LINGUIST List 18.1382

Mon May 07 2007

Qs: Russian Oxytone Nouns in /og/; Double Modal Constructions

Editor for this issue: Kevin Burrows <kevinlinguistlist.org>


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Directory
        1.    Brent de Chene, Russian Oxytone Nouns in /og/: Stable or Unstable?
        2.    Tina Lin, Double Modal Constructions


Message 1: Russian Oxytone Nouns in /og/: Stable or Unstable?
Date: 06-May-2007
From: Brent de Chene <dechenewaseda.jp>
Subject: Russian Oxytone Nouns in /og/: Stable or Unstable?


It is well-known (see e.g. Kenstowicz and Kisseberth 1977:33) that Russian
has a small number of noun stems that alternate between a form that shows
the effects of final devoicing of obstruents and a form that shows the
effect of reduction of (immediately) pretonic /o/ to /a/, as in (1) (stress
is on the first vowel of the suffix if there is one and on the last vowel
of the stem otherwise).

(1) a. pirok ''pie (Nom/Acc Sg)''
b. pirag-a ''id. (Gen Sg)''

A priori, one might reason about this situation in either of the following
two ways (at least):

(A) Since there is a tendency for speakers to prefer basic or underlying
forms that coincide with surface allomorphs, we would expect the situation
in (1) to be (potentially) unstable.

1. If the oblique stem allomorph is taken as basic and the underlying form
is thus /pirag/, the Nominative/Accusative allomorph [pirok] will become
exceptional and potentially subject to replacement with a ''regular'' form
[pirak].
2. If the Nominative/Accusative stem allomorph is taken as basic and the
underlying form is thus /pirok/, on the other hand, the oblique stem
allomorph [pirag-] will become exceptional and potentially subject to
replacement with a ''regular'' form [pirak-].

(B) Since both of the alternations involved are entirely automatic, there
is no reason to expect the situation in (1) to be unstable; the underlying
form of the stem is /pirog/, even though that form coincides with neither
of the two surface stem allomorphs.

I am not aware of any data indicating whether or not the potential
instability predicted in (A) is actually observed in any relevant variety
of Russian (or other East Slavic language). In particular, on scenario
(A1), we would expect potential variation in the Nom/Acc form between
''irregular'' [pirok] and ''regular'' [pirak], and on scenario (A2), we
would expect potential variation in suffixed forms between e.g.
''irregular'' [pirag-a] and ''regular'' [pirak-a]. I would very much
appreciate hearing on this subject from people who are specialists and/or
native speakers and will post a summary if warranted.

Kenstowicz, Michael, and Charles Kisseberth. 1977. Topics in Phonological
Theory. New York: Academic Press.

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Message 2: Double Modal Constructions
Date: 03-May-2007
From: Tina Lin <yctl500york.ac.uk>
Subject: Double Modal Constructions


I am currently conducting research related to double modals and need to
contact speakers of a dialect with double modal constructions such as:

He might can go...
He might could go...
He might should go...
He might oughta go...
He might would go...

I would really appreciate it if a speaker of such constructions could
contact me and help me with grammaticality judgement tests for my research.

Tina Lin

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax



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