The Structure of Morphemes of Lithuanian Verbs
Articles
Asta Kazlauskienė
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Gailius Raškinis
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Published 2013-04-25
https://doi.org/10.15388/RESPECTUS.2013.23.28.17
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Keywords

Morpheme
Root
Affix
Flexion
Prefix
Suffix
Vowel
Consonant
Diphthong

How to Cite

Kazlauskienė A. and Raškinis G. (2013) “The Structure of Morphemes of Lithuanian Verbs”, Respectus Philologicus, 23(28), pp. 198-210. doi: 10.15388/RESPECTUS.2013.23.28.17.

Abstract

The aim of this research was to establish and describe the most important phonemic patterns of Lithuanian verb morphemes. The investigation was based on a corpus of 30,000 verb types (verbs and their forms). All words in the corpus were stressed and phonetically transcribed. A computer program was developed to extract statistics out of this corpus. The results indicate that monosyllabic morphemes dominate in Lithuanian. They comprise 97%, 99%, 98%, and 97% of all verb roots, prefixes, derivational suffixes, and endings respectively. Inflectional suffixes and the reflexive affix are exclusively monosyllabic. Pronominal inflection endings are either disyllabic (97%) or trisyllabic. There is a high variety of vowelconsonant patterns among verbs: the verb root is represented by 91 patterns, prefixes by 8 patterns, derivational suffixes by 18 patterns, inflectional suffixes by 7 patterns, inflectional endings by 9 patterns, endings of pronominal participles by 7 patterns, and the reflexive affix by 3 different patterns. The consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) pattern appeared to be the most frequent among verb roots (45%), the CV pattern was the most frequent among prefixes (59%), the VC pattern was the most frequent among derivational suffixes (46%), and V pattern was the most frequent among inflectional endings of Lithuanian verbs (76%). In many cases, the root of a verb contains both initial and final consonants (82%). Because of this and because of the tendency to avoid hiatus in Lithuanian, the root can be adjoined by vowel-final prefixes and vowel-initial suffixes or inflectional endings. This appears to be the case, as prefixes are mostly open (80%), and both derivational suffixes (90%) and all inflectional endings begin with vowels. Inflectional suffixes do not follow this regularity. Only one-third of them start with a vowel. The hypothesis that the phonemic structure of a verb root might determine the corresponding patterns of its adjoining affixes seems to be supported by this investigation.

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