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On binding, lexical and superlexical prefixes, and si in the Baltic verb

  • Julija Korostenskiene (a1)

The present paper is concerned with a historical puzzle: the changing position of the marker si in the extant Baltic languages, Lithuanian and Latvian. Si appears before the root in prefixed verbs and verb-finally in prefixless verbs in Lithuanian and dialectal Latvian, as opposed to a consistently verb-final position in standard Latvian and in Slavic languages, specifically Russian. This ordering is examined within a larger picture of morpheme linearization – focusing primarily on Lithuanian, but also bringing in Latvian and Latgalian data – to account for the Baltic paradigm. Historically a pronoun, si is argued to have incorporated into the verbal structure, and to maintain nowadays a binding relation with the subject of the sentence. The placement of si within the verb is shown to depend on two factors: the type of the antecedent and the morphosyntactic composition of the verb. The findings presented here also provide new evidence against the Lexicalist Hypothesis.

Cet article traite d'une question longuement débattue : la position variable du marqueur si dans les langues baltes existantes, soit le lituanien et le letton. Si apparaît avant la racine dans les verbes préfixés, et en position finale dans les verbes sans préfixe en lituanien et en letton dialectal, alors qu'elle figure toujours en position finale en letton standard et dans les langues slaves, spécifiquement le russe. Nous examinons cet ordonnancement dans le contexte de la linéarisation des morphèmes avec des données du lithuanien, mais aussi du letton et du latgalien, pour en arriver à une analyse du paradigme balte. Nous soutenons que si , jadis pronominal, a été incorporé dans la structure verbale, et entretient aujourd'hui une relation de liage avec le sujet de la phrase. Nous démontrons que le placement de si dans le verbe dépend de deux facteurs: le type de l'antécédent et la composition morphosyntaxique du verbe. Les résultats présentés ici apportent également de nouvelles preuves contre l'hypothèse lexicaliste.

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I express my sincere and profound gratitude to the three Anonymous Reviewers for their insightful comments, useful references, and valuable suggestions on the drafts of the manuscript. I am also very thankful to Prof. Ronnie Wilbur at Purdue University, USA, for her generous advice and comments at the early stages of this study. I also extend my deep gratitude to the Editor of the Canadian Journal of Linguistics for her generous assistance finalizing the manuscript. All remaining errors are my own.

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