eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1965
Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)


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Tiit-Rein Viitso


Gradation consists of regular alternations of strong and weak grades of stressed syllables (and corresponding stems and words) in inflected words. In Livonian, gradation concerns words having both a short nuclear vowel and a heavy coda in the first syllable of strong-grade forms. A heavy coda is produced with the broken tone or it contains a phonetically half-long or full-long vowel or consonant in syllables with the plain tone. In weak-grade forms coda is either absent or light. weak-grade forms have a long vowel in the second syllable if the first syllable is short or in the first syllable if this syllable is long. On the basis of co-occurrence in inflectional paradigms of 11 weak- and 6 strong-grade stem types 21 main types of gradational paradigms are established. The emergence of gradation in Livonian is caused mainly by strengthening of coda in initial syllables as a counterbalance to long vowels or diphthong in the second syllable and as a compensation for syncopated and apocopated vowels in the second syllable.


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