CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HISTORICAL GRAMMAR OF THE SLOVAK LANGUAGE. FROM THE HISTORY OF THE PARTICIPLE 'MOHOL'
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In 1983, F. H. H. Kortlandt made the claim that the difference in root vocalism quantity observed between the masc. sg. form of the Slovak '-l-' participles of the type 'niesol' '-*nesl7' (where 7 stands for a reduced back vowel called 'jer') on the one hand and 'mohol' '-*mogl7' on the other is to be connected with their original different stress pattern; while the former were end-stressed and owe the lengthening of their root vowel to a retraction of the stress from the final 'jer', the latter were stem-stressed (stress of the nom. sg. masc. is seen here as direct continuation of the Balto-Slavic stressed circumflex), as evidenced - according to that author - by the accentuation of other forms of its paradigm (e.g. of its present tense forms). The dialectal data known since 1968 (forms of the participle from more than 300 localities scattered all over Slovakia, published in 'Atlas slovenského jazyka') do not confirm the opinion that the nom. sg. masc. with short root vowel should be regarded as ancient; outcomes with a reflex of lengthened *o (in the masc. sg. form alone or generalized throughout the paradigm of the '-l-' participle) are attested in three peripheral areas not contiguous to each other. This very distribution strongly suggests their chronological priority over the Standard Slovak-like pattern, which is widespread mainly in the centre of the Slovak linguistic territory. The decisive argument is provided by the situation we encounter in the monosyllabic nouns of Common Slavic origin. There exists a peculiar morphonological type, which combines (original) long vocalism of the nom.-sg. form and short one of the remaining case forms (kon, kona etc.). This type is made up mainly of Common Slavic oxytona (b-type) with short root vowel (as a rule *o); some of these have generalized the lengthened vowel throughout the paradigm (bob, bobu), others seem to have eliminated it (e.g. snop, snopa). This peculiar distribution indicates that the alternation cannot be explained without recourse to inherited prosodic relationships. It has to be assumed that the radical etymologically short vowel of the nom.-acc. sg. of the b-stressed nouns was phonetically lengthened. Since such a lengthening cannot reasonably be posited for original a-stressed nouns, it can be assumed as well that the Slovak is one of few Slavic languages (together with, e.g., Slovene) which attest to different prosodic treatment of old acute and short neoacute. The form 'mohol' and the like are thus due to morphonological developments; the reason for the difference between 'niesol' and 'mohol' is to be sought in their different vowel timbre, which presumably determined the direction of levelling between gender forms of the sg.
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