The Belarusian Genitive plural: a case for reanalysis

The Belarusian Genitive plural: a case for reanalysis The paper presents new data from ongoing morphological change in the Standard Belarusian nominal declension that potentially bear on the nature of phonology-morphology interactions. It is generally accepted that the allomorphs in the Genitive plural case are /-Ø/, /-ow/, and /-ej/, and that some version of the /-ow/ allomorph is now being extended from Declension Ia to other declension classes. The spread of this change in some classes is sensitive to a phonotactic condition that does not normally interact with morphology elsewhere. Thus Belarusian suppletive allomorphy shows some output optimization, or Phonology > Morphology effects. The allomorph being extended to feminine nouns is the unstressed pronunciation of /-ow/, the neutralized [-aw] (< /-ow/). I suggest that this phonologically predictable [-aw] has at some point been reanalyzed as an independent lexical allomorph /-aw/ which must be “unstressed”. In a model of the grammar where phonology and morphology are interleaved, I show that the /-aw/ is implemented by a constraint GenPl: /-aw/ which is ranked with respect to a phonological constraint (YerDep) and the other GenPl Decl constraints implementing /-Ø/, /-ow/, and /-ej/. The “unstressability” of /-aw/ is said to be due to Lexical Conservatism (Steriade 1999a, 1999b); there are no instances of Gen plural [-áw] in Belarusian. The nature of this innovation raises questions about the architecture of phonology-morphology interactions and the representation of lexical allomorphy in the grammar. Morphology Springer Journals

The Belarusian Genitive plural: a case for reanalysis

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Springer Netherlands
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Linguistics; Linguistics, general; Comparative Linguistics; Phonology; Sign Language
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