Investigations into Polish Morphology and Phonology

E. Czaykowska-Higgins, 1988

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This study investigates the relationship between morphology and phonology.  It addresses two interrelated but distinct questions: first, what are the morphological devices and processes required to generate the input to the phonology, and second, how do the rules of the phonology interact with the morphological structure?  Answers to these questions are provided by a detailed examination of the morphology and phonology of Polish.  It is argues that morphology is distinct and separate from phonology, and that phonology operates on objects which are created by the morphology.  The phonology consists of two distinct components: word-level and phrase-level phonology.  The word-level component involves processes that apply word-internally and is organized into two blocks, one of cyclic and the other of non-cyclic rules.  The phrase-level component involves processes not limited to the word.

The thesis is organized as a series of three studies of particular topics in Polish morphology and phonology.  The first study is concerned with the morphological structure of Polish verbs.  It is argues that the Polish verb has a four-part constituent structure, consisting of a Class-stem, a Verbalizing Suffix Stem, a Tense Marker Stem, and a Person/Number Stem.  The Class-stem, which carries the lexical semantic content of the verb, is specified for membership in a particular inflectional class; inflectional and some derivational properties of a stem are predictable from class membership.  It is proposed that word-formation rules which derive denominal or secondary imperfective Class-stems are conversion rules which change a stem’s class membership; these rules may involve concomitant affixation or phonological alternations.  The discussion of verbs illustrates the fact that morphological structure is not necessarily isomorphic either with semantics or phonology.  For example, Polish prefixes are argued to be phonological words, even though morphologically, they are included in the verb word.

The second study focuses on the cyclic phonological alternations commonly referred to as palatalizations.  It is argued that most of the palatalization rules are morphologically, rather than phonologically, conditioned, but that they are nevertheless ordered in the cyclic component of the phonology.  Several vowel alternations are shown to be lexically conditioned in that, although they apply in phonologically well-defined environments, they apply in only a subset of forms which meet their structural descriptions.  Thus it is concluded that the phonology of Polish is governed by more idiosyncratic behaviour than previous research had assumed.

The third study deals with the processes associated with the orthographic nasal vowels of Polish.  Taking into account recent work in hierarchical feature representations and underspecification theory, it is argued that the nasal vowels are underlying nasal dipthongs whose first member is a mid vowel and whose second member is a placeless nasal glide.  The similar behavior of nasal glides and nasal stops is accounted for by assuming that nasal stops can lose their place of articulation specifications.  Both the underlying and the derived placeless nasals receive place features by rules of assimilation or by redundancy rules.  The nasal processes provide evidence for the noncyclic word-level component and the phrase-level component of the phonology.

Thesis Supervisor:         Morris Halle

Title:                             Institute Professor


Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Introduction                                                                                          11

            1          Morphology                                                                                         13

                        1.1       Morphological Theory                                                  14

                        1.2       Polish morphology                                                                    19

            2          Phonology                                                                                            23

                        2.1       Cyclicity                                                                                   24

                        2.2       Lexical phonology and the ordering hypothesis              27

                        2.3       Polish phonology                                                                      34

            3          The underlying consonant and vowel inventories                                    39

Chapter 2         The Morphological Component: Verb Structure                                    48

            1          Polish verbs                                                                                          49

            2          Constituent structure of the verbs                                                          53

                        2.1       Person/Number and tense-marker morphemes              54

                        2.2       VS-stems and C-stems                                                 63

                                    2.2.1    VS-stems and Verb classes                                          64

                                    2.2.2    C-stems                                                                       70

                                    2.2.3    Denominal and deadjectival C-stems                             71

                                    2.2.4    Secondary imperfectives                                               77

                                       Secondary imperfectives and verb classes         77

                                       Secondary imperfectives and vowel

                                                            alternations                                                       84

                                       Glide-final roots                                                92

                                       The rules                                                          93

                                    2.2.5    C-stems and prefixes                                                    94

                        2.3       Laskoski (1975b), and Szpyra (1986, 1987b)                          99

                        2.4       Comments on the semantics of prefixation                                 107

                        2.5       The phonology of prefixation                                                     114

                                    2.5.1    Prefixes as phonological words                         115

                                    2.5.2    The e~ alternations and prosodic restructuring 121

            3          Concluding remarks                                                                              132

Chapter 3         The cyclic component: palatalization rules                                              135

            1          The palatalizations                                                                                 136

            2          Palatalization in morphologically-derived environments               146

                        2.1       The i~y alternation                                                                    148

                        2.2       e-initial suffixes                                                             157

                        2.3       back-vowel suffixes                                                                  160

                        2.4       Consonant-initial suffixes: the e~ alternations               162

                                    2.4.1    Constraints on codas                                                    165

                                    2.4.2    Epenthesis                                                                    169

                                    2.4.3    Word-internal palatalization and e~ alternations          180

            3          Morphologically-conditioned phonological rules                         186

                        3.1       Cyclic and noncyclic affixes: a rejected hypothesis                     186

                        3.2       Floating features: a rejected hypothesis                          190

                        3.3       Palatalizations are morphologically conditioned              193

                        3.4       Palatalizations are phonological rules                                         195

                                    3.4.1    j-formation                                                                   196

                                    3.4.2    Cyclic vowel-delinking and imperative formation            203

                        3.5       Comments on a morphological analysis of palatalization 214

            4          Lexically-conditioned phonological alternations                          222

            5          Conclusion                                                                                           233

Chapter 4         The Noncyclic Component: Nasal Dipthongs and Nasal Processes        236

            1          Introduction                                                                                          236

            2          The data                                                                                               240

                        2.1       Nasal assimilation                                                                     241

                        2.2       Nasal gliding                                                                             244

            3          Nasal dipthongs                                                                                    245

                        3.1       Nasal dipthongs are not vowel/stop sequences              246

                        3.2       Nasal dipthongs are unspecified for place                                  250

                                    3.2.1    Predictability of place of articulation                              251

                                    3.2.2    Nasal dipthongs as vowels                                            257

            4          Prepalatal nasals                                                                                   258

            5          Coronal nasals                                                                                      262

                        5.1       Coronal as unmarked                                                                264

                        5.2       Coronal deletion                                                                       267

                        5.3       Spreading                                                                                 268

            6          Labial nasals                                                                                         272

            7          Palatal nasal glides                                                                                274

            8          The noncyclic component                                                                      276