Paradigm leveling: The decay of consonant alternations in Russian

Varvara Magomedova, Natalia Slioussar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper, we look at a paradigm leveling process currently taking place in Russian that affects historical consonant alternations (morphophonemic alternations that arose as a result of historical sound changes in Slavic and Russian specifically). In Standard Russian, these alternations are present in some verb forms (ljubit' 'to love'-ljublju 'I love'), in comparatives (suxoj 'dry'-suše 'drier, more dryly'), in deverbal nouns, and in some other grammatical categories. However, many non-standard forms in Russian lack alternations or have 'incorrect' alternations unattested in the standard language. Unfortunately, Russian corpora contain almost no such non-standard forms, and the best source of such data is the Internet. However, estimating relative frequencies of different forms found on the Internet is a challenge because the counts provided by search engines are extremely unreliable. We developed various strategies and a program to circumvent this problem and applied the technique to our study of alternations primarily in comparatives and to some extent also in verb forms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Morphological Organization
Subtitle of host publicationData and Analyses
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789004342910
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameEmpirical Approaches to Linguistic Theory
ISSN (Electronic)2210-6251

Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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