Vocalic alternations in Czech prefixes: evidence for prefix movement
Pavel Caha, Markéta Ziková
July 2016

This paper looks at a vowel zero alternation in Czech verbal prefixes (in comparison to Russian). We show that the data can only be explained if the prefix and the root form a constituent to the exclusion of all other verbal morphology, including the so-called theme marker: [[pref root] theme]. However, there are other phonological processes in Czech (infinitival lengthening), which suggest that the root and the theme marker form a constituent to the exclusion of the prefix: [pref [root theme]]. We argue that the apparent contradiction is resolved by prefix movement (Svenonius 2004). The prefix and the root are merged together, and there is a cycle of phonological computation that determines the vowel/zero status of the alternation site in the prefix. After the first cycle, the theme marker is added and the prefix moves higher up in the structure. This creates a remnant constituent containing just the root and the theme marker, and it is this remnant constituent that is subject to the infinitival lengthening.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003276
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: prefix, verb, czech, russian, morphology, syntax, phonology
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