ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

Notes on the structure of the verb stem in Tundra Nenets

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Tatevosov S. G. Neskolko nablyudeniy nad osnovami nenetskogo glagola. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2020. XVI(3): 533–569.

This paper surveys the structure of the verb stem in Tundra Nenets, focusing on stem-final elements a, (y)o, and ø. The latter appears in two varieties, known as “non-alternating ø”, or “øʌ”, and “alternating ø”, or “øi”. In Tundra Nenets, the same stem can surface with more than one stem-final vowel as in xona / ​xonyo ‘fall asleep, sleep’ (a and o); nømta / ​nømtøʌ ‘hear’ (a and øʌ), wøntar°ta / ​wøntar°tøi ‘bend, be bent’ (a and øi), and so on. The goal of this paper is to establish two related empirical generalizations. First, the scope of this phenomenon exceeds by far the limits identified in the previous studies. The paper argues that the stem-final alternations are to be re‑­analyzed in terms of productive derivational morphology that operates on event-structural characteristics of a verbal predicate. Second, the four-way opposition created by the stem-final morphology does not only characterize non-derived verbs, but also extends to verbs with productive derivational morphology. For example, the inchoative morpheme, identified as l(ø) in the previous studies, features the entire array of options including, apart from (non-alternating) ʌ, la, løi, and lyo. The empirical reality of these inchoatives can be assessed by looking at the subjective and reflexive subparadigms of Aorist and, when the forms of Aorist cannot tell different options apart, at the so called connegative subparadigm. Other productive derivational morphemes of Tundra Nenets, the Durative (the ‑mpø morpheme), the Imperfective (‑), the Frequentative (‑r), and the Iterative (‑ngkø) exhibit similar behavior: they are attested with different stem-final elements. This view of stem-final morphology makes a significant prediction. If a, øʌ, øi, and o are derivational morphemes rather than “vowel alternations” epiphenomenal on the formation of the form of Aorist, one can expect to find them elsewhere, that is, outside of the Aorist paradigm. This prediction is borne out: as our study confirms, verbs stems derived from the four elements of this event-structural paradigm (the basic stem, the general finite stem, and the connegative stem) are involved in further morphological derivation yielding causatives, inchoatives, and so on. Thus, for example, the verb yakøl ‘start itching’, the inchoative of yakø ‘itch’, shows the multiplicity of ways of deriving the Iterative: yakøl‑a‑ngkø, yakøl‑°‑ngkø, yakøl‑u‑ngkø, yakøl‑yo‑ngkø, yakøl‑yu‑ngkø. The stems, which the Iterative affix ‑ngkø‑ merges with, all come from different stem-final variants of yakøl: yakøla (cf. yakøl‑a‑ngkø), yakøløʌ (cf. yakøl‑°‑ngkø), yakøløi (cf. yakøl‑u‑ngkø), and yakølyo (cf. yakøl‑yo‑ngkø and yakøl‑yu‑ngkø). The reality of the stem-final event-structural morphology thus receives a strong empirical support.

verb structure, event structure, derivational morphology, causative, incho­ative
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verb structure, event structure, derivational morphology, causative, incho­ative
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