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10 MOBILE VOWELS IN NOUN DECLENSION 10.1. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON MOBILE VOWELS A mobile vowel (о, ,  “transitional ”, occasionally , uniquely ) can split the final two consonants of a noun stem before endings in plain or softening zero: -ъ§§ {-Ø} or -ь§§ {-′}, respectively. Here are some orientational examples. In all examples other than  , where the ending is -ь§§ , the ending is -ъ§§ . Form before a vowel ending: Mobile-vowel before -ъ§§ {-Ø} or -ь§§ {-′}: лдк {lódka} Nsg. лдок {lódok} Gpl. (mobile о)  {rtá} Gsg.  {rót} NAsg. (mobile о) ог {ognäá} Gsg. ог {ogónä} (mobile о)   {vší} GDPsg.  {vóš} (mobile о) с {psá} GAsg. с {päós} Nsg. (mobile ) л д {lädá} Gsg. лд {läód} NAsg. (mobile ) мсло {máslo} NAsg. мсл {másäol} Gpl. (unstressed )  {pnäá} Gsg.  {päénä} (mobile ) см  {säemäjá} Nsg. см {säemäéj} Gpl. (mobile ) ко  {kopäjó} Nsg. к {kópäij} Gpl. (mobile ) ц {zájca} GAsg. ц {zájac} Nsg. (mobile ) Often the mobile vowel occurs in what is structurally a suffix added to a noun root, as in лдк Gpl. лдок (with the suffix -ъ§§ к-, deep stem лод-ъ§§ к-), см  Gpl. см (with the suffix -ь§§ -, deep stem см-ь§§ -). Sometimes the mobile vowel occurs in the root itself, as in  Gsg. , stem ъ§§ -, лд Gsg. л д, stem ль§§ д-. There are two general ways in which mobile vowel insertion may be described, called here “pedagogical” and “technical”. According to the pedagogical treatment, the environment —Cъ§§ or —Cь§§ triggers the insertion of о or  ~  in a slot marked by |: 10.1. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON MOBILE VOWELS 199 |-ъ§§ :  | -ъ§§ :  л |д-ъ§§ : лд | -ь§§ :  ог| -ъ§§ : ог см |-ъ§§ : см This method relies on rules of thumb for determining the insert vowel, repeated here from Chapter 5: Expect о before or after к, г, ; otherwise, expect , or  before a soft paired consonant, , or ц. However, expect о before a hard consonant in monosyllables and always in the feminine third declension. Hence оолк оолк (о before к); ко ко ( usually elsewhere ),   ( before a soft consonant), у у  ( before ),   ( in soft-stem monosyllables);   (о in hard-stem monosyllables); цко цк (о in the feminine third declension). The environment after к occurs in лко лк; after г in го г; after  in ку ко . In the hard-stem monosyllable л л  one interprets the vowel as о, spelled  after л (л + о = л). There is no difference in pronunciation between unstressed mobile  and unstressed transitional ; see сос, Gpl. сс [sósäı˘n] with unstressed , and Nsg.  [páräı˘nä] with unstressed transitional . Under the “technical” treatment, the same environment, —Cъ§§ or —Cь§§ , triggers the change of a preceding ъ§§ to о or of ь§§ to  ~ : ъ§§ -ъ§§ :  ь§§  -ъ§§ :  ль§§ д-ъ§§ : лд ъ§§ -ь§§ :  огъ§§  -ъ§§ : ог ь§§  -ъ§§ :  This method incorporates the choice of vowel, о vs.  ~ , into the mobile -vowel markers themselves. The choice as to  ~  relies on the rules for “transitional ” (Chapter 3, Section 3.4.5), that is,  before a soft consonant, , or ц, otherwise . The pedagogical analysis, using |, based on rules of thumb, runs into occasional problems, and it is slightly less descriptively powerful. For example , there is no good way to accommodate с с pedagogically, since the rule relating to hard-stem monosyllables predicts о, not . The technical form ь§§ с-ъ§§ predicts с naturally. The pedagogical derivation of ббу |к- ъ§§ : ббу к predicts the spelling correctly (о in the vicinity of к, spelled  when unstressed after ), but not the actual sound. One expects weak-unstressed morphophonemic о to be pronounced [E], but in fact the mobile vowel in this word is pronounced [y˘], suggesting morphophonemic . The technical description, based ultimately on бб-у-ь§§ к-, correctly predicts 200 10. MOBILE VOWELS IN NOUN DECLENSIONS both the phone [y˘] and the mutation of  to , allowing for the comparison of the morph -у - to -у- in, say, с. Similarly, because of the pronunciation of the Gpl. of к, к, as [čájı˘k], one infers -ь§§ к-, not *-ъ§§ к-. The pedagogical derivation, which inserts о before the velar in |к- and then spells unstressed о as  after , predicts the spelling but not the pronunciation. A further disadvantage of the pedagogical operator | is that in some instances the steps required to obtain the final form are complex; see the derivation of the Nsg. of лд: 1. л |д-ъ§§ set up the form and add the ending -ъ 2. л -одъ§§ insert о in a hard-stem monosyllable 3. л -од: лд drop -ъ§§ and spell + о as  Under the more technical approach, one simply inserts  for ь§§ and drops ъ§§ : ль§§ д-ъ§§ : лд. To be sure, the technical approach requires sensitivity to spelling rules too. In Gpl. ь§§ к-ъ§§ : к, for example, one employs the spelling rule which drops  before an iotated vowel letter:  + к = к. The technical analysis of a word like Nsg. с as ь§§ с-ъ§§ , while it solves the problem of the mobile-vowel choice (with the rule ь§§ : ), requires rules for determining when ь§§ is not kept as in the final spelled form (the GAsg. of с is с, not (* с). In general: a. ь§§ mutates a preceding velar and then drops: собк-ь§§ к-: собь§§ к-: собк. b. ь§§ is kept (as ) after л, and after  before к: Gsg. ко ль§§ к-: ко л к, Gsg. ко -ь§§ к-: коь§§ к-: ко к. c. ь§§ is kept (as ) after all consonants before : смь§§ -: см . d. ь§§ is kept (as ) after dental consonants before labial consonants: ь§§ м-:  м. e. ь§§ is dropped in most other places: Gsg. ь§§ с- с, оь§§ ц-: оц As a whole, the above rules constitute a statement on the morphophonemics of the...


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