In Old Lithuanian texts (16-17 century), there are more than a hundred definite forms of adjectives and participles with unshortened pronominal ending -jie in the masculine nominative plural, e. g. baiſuſghie ‘the dreadful (errors)’ or mirßtąghie ‘the dying’ instead of modern Lithuanian forms like gerieji ‘the good’. Stang (1966: 237) supposed a complementary distribution - “-ji stands after -ie-, -jie in the other cases” - and explained the shortening as dissimilation process. However, dissimilation provides a solution only for -ie-ji, whereas in Stang’s framework -jíe with acute intonation should generally have been shortened in polysyllabic forms. It can be shown that the complementary distribution stated by Stang holds true for Old Lithuanian in general. Dissimilation seems to be the best explanation for *-ie-jie > -ie-ji, but it remains uncertain if this process affected other paradigmatic forms as well. It is proposed that definite forms became grammaticalized after monosyllabic forms with íe and úo underwent circumflexion. Only after subsequent univerbation, dissimilation or Leskien’s Law took place.
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