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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 1, 2012

Russian intervocalic deletion in Derivational Optimality Theory

Janina Mołczanow


The article addresses issues connected with the deletion of the glide j in intervocalic contexts and the distribution of the sequences ji and ij in Russian. It has been assumed in generative phonology that the surface distinction between glides and vowels is not encoded in the lexicon, but, rather, is a result of syllabification rules, which ensure that the underlying high vowel is realised as a glide in syllable margins. At first glance, it appears that Russian glides eschew such an analysis, as both [ij] and [ji] sequences are found on the surface and it is unclear which underlying //i// should be turned into a glide. However, the present paper demonstrates that the distribution of high vowel i and the glide j is systematic and there is no need to prespecify j in the lexicon. The basic generalisation is that both the occurrence of the glide in onset or coda position and the deletion of the glide intervocalically are conditioned by the presence of an underlying fleeting vowel, the so-called yer.

Received: 2011-06-01
Revised: 2012-02-08
Accepted: 2012-02-12
Published Online: 2012
Published in Print: 2012

© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2012

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