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3 MORPHOPHONEMICS AND TECHNICAL ORTHOGRAPHY 3.1. THE IDEA OF MORPHOPHONEMICS MORPHOPHONEMICS is concerned with the description of phonemically relevant sound-changes taking place in a word in accordance with the word’s changing grammatical status. The main motive underlying morphophonemics is the desire to describe the relatedness of superficially different phonemic shapes of MORPHEMES (meaningful word-parts) in the most efficient possible way. We have already seen morphophonemics at work in Chapters 1 and 2. Given the two word-shapes NAsg. сл and Gsg. сол, with the diverging phonemic stem-forms /stól- stal-/, in view of the regularity and predictability of this divergence, it is efficient to describe their relatedness by positing the single morphophonemic stem-form {stol-}, and a rule which changes unstressed morphophonemic {o} to phonemic /a/. Accordingly , the MORPHS /stól/, /stal/ become analyzed as ALLOMORPHS, i.e., regularly and predictably alternating morphemic shapes, and are assigned to the MORPHEME {stol}, representing /stól ~ stal/ depending on environment (here, depending on whether or not {o} is stressed). Similarly, the morphophoneme {z} in combination with the word-final consonantdevoicing rule serves to unite morphs like /vos ~ voz/ in   , in the morpheme {voz}, representing /vós ~ voz/. Morphophonemics is subordinate to the PRINCIPLE OF MORPHEMIC UNITY, which holds that morphemes are to be analyzed as having an underlying unitary shape to the extent that speakers of the language feel that the morphs entering into the morpheme are either the same or are predictably related. Typically, the morphophonemic shape of a word will resemble one of the word’s phonemic allomorphs, but it does not have to. Take, for example , the word NAsg. г од, Gsg. г од , Psg. г од, NApl. го од, whose respective root allomorphs are /gorat/ ~ /gorad/ ~ /goradä/ ~ /garad/, but whose morphophonemic shape is {gorod}, with {o} in the second syllable established only on the basis of cognates like ого дсо. 56 3. MORPHOPHONEMICS AND TECHNICAL ORTHOGRPHY In all of the above examples, the morphophonemic shape of the roots concerned relies on sound-change rules discussed in Chapter 1, based on phonological features such as voicing, palatalization, and vowel rounding, raising, and fronting. In the present chapter we will examine morphophonemic changes of a more abstract, less feature-based nature. We will begin to use cyrillic letters, belonging to a technical morphophonemic alphabet , when transcribing morphemes and the morphophonemes of which they are composed. 3.1.1. MORPHOPHONEMES Traditionally, the term ‘morphophonemics’ was used to describe changes in the phonemic shape of whole morphemes according to grammatical position . Under this broad conception, the description of the distribution of the Gpl. noun endings -о ~ - ~ -ъ§§ {-ov ~ -′ej ~ -0} according to the stemtype and gender of the noun is a matter of morphophonemics, as would be the distribution of the perfective passive participle suffixes -- ~ -- ~ -- {-t- ~ -′on- ~ -n-} according to verb class. However, here the term will be used more narrowly, to refer to phonemic changes which are grammatically triggered but which are also phonologically conditioned. By a MORPHOPHONEME will be meant a phoneme that alternates with or goes to another phoneme because of a change in its sound environment arising during the course of word-formation (derivation or inflection). For consonants, a “change in environment” typically involves placement before a different vowel. For example, к issues as  before ; see ко, NApl. ок-: . For vowels, a “change in environment” usually involves a change in place of stress, causing the so-called vowel reductions. Thus, the morphophoneme  {′a} is potential /a ~ e ~ i/, as in the words  /päátä/ л /päetäiläétnäij/  /päitäí/. A change in vowel environment may also involve occurrence before a different consonant. For example,  issues as  before , as in к- : . We will also use the term morphophoneme to refer to two instances of the same phoneme which differ from each other according to their ability to undergo phonemic sound changes, or to condition sound changes on the part of other (morpho)phonemes. For example, the items  {′i} and  {i}, represented by the phoneme /i/, are morphophonemes in this sense: by  {′i} is meant the phoneme /i/ either preceded by a mutated velar consonant , as in лк--: л {lek-′i-t′: lečítä} (compare лк со) or by a soft paired consonant, as in л --: л  {plat-′i-t′: platäítä}; compare л . By contrast,  {i} refers to /i/ preceded by the non-distinctive softening of velars, while other consonants remain hard: к- {rek-i}: к /räikí/ 3.1.1. MORPHOPHONEMES 57 [räikäí]; с - {stran-í}: с  /straní/. While both  and  emerge as phonemic /i/, and are spelled either  or  according to spelling rules, because of their differing effects on...


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