Indo-European Reduplication: Synchrony, Diachrony, and Theory
Sam Zukoff
September 2017
 

The reduplicative systems of the ancient Indo-European languages are characterized by an unusual alternation in the shape of the reduplicant. The related languages Ancient Greek, Gothic, and Sanskrit share the property that root-initial consonant clusters exhibit different reduplicant shapes, depending on their featural composition. Moreover, even though the core featural distinction largely overlaps across the languages, the actual patterns which instantiate that distinction are themselves distinct across the languages. For roots beginning in stop-sonorant clusters (TRVX– roots), each of these languages agrees in displaying a prefixal CV reduplicant, where the consonant corresponds to the root-initial stop: TV-TRVX–. These three languages likewise agree that roots beginning in sibilant-stop clusters (STVX– roots) show some pattern other than the one exhibited by TRVX– roots. However, each of the three languages exhibits a distinct alternative pattern: V-STVX– in the case of Ancient Greek, STV-STVX– in the case of Gothic, TV-STVX– in the case of Sanskrit. This dissertation provides an integrated synchronic and diachronic theoretical account of the morphophonological properties of verbal reduplication in the ancient Indo-European languages, with its central focus being to explain this core alternation between TRVX– roots and STVX– roots. Set within Base-Reduplicant Correspondence Theory, a framework for analyzing reduplication in Optimality Theory, the comprehensive synchronic analyses constructed in service of understanding this distinction and other interrelated distinctions allow us to probe complex theoretical questions regarding the constraints and constraint interactions involved in the determination of reduplicant shape. This dissertation seeks not only to develop in depth, consistent accounts of both the productive and marginal/archaic morphophonological aspects of reduplication in the Indo-European languages, it aims to understand the origins of these patterns—from a historical and comparative perspective, and from the perspective of morphophonological learning and grammar change — and attempts to motivate the conditions for the onset, development, and retention of the changes that result in the systems observed in the attested languages. As such, these analyses constitute a valuable set of case studies on complex systemic change in phonological grammars.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003685
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: MIT Dissertation
keywords: reduplication, indo-european, phonology, morphology, phonetics, historical linguistics, ancient greek, hittite, anatolian, germanic, gothic
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