Russian baby diminutives: Heading toward an analysis
Maria Gouskova, Jonathan David Bobaljik
September 2021

[New title, June 2021: The lexical core of a complex functional affix: Russian baby-diminutive -onok] Like other syntactic elements, affixes are sometimes said to be heads or modifiers. In Russian, one suffix,-onok, can be either: as a head, it is a size diminutive denoting baby animals, and as a modifier, it is an evaluative with a dismissive/affectionate flavor. Various grammatical properties of this suffix differ between the two uses: gender, declension class, and interaction with suppletive alternations, both as target and trigger. We explore a reductionist account of these differences: the baby diminutive comprises a lexical morpheme plus a functional nominalizing head, while the evaluative affix is the lexical morpheme alone. We contend that our account is superior to two conceivable alternatives: first, the view that these are homophonous but unrelated affixes, and second, a cartographic alternative, whereby diminutives attach at different levels in a universal structure.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005660
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
keywords: morphology, russian, diminutives, adjuncts, heads, modifiers, suppletion, declension class, gender, distributed morphology, morphology
previous versions: v4 [September 2021]
v3 [June 2021]
v2 [June 2021]
v1 [January 2021]
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