Nonce words show that Russian yer alternations are governed by the grammar

Maria Gouskova, Michael Becker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Even though vowel deletion in Russian is lexically-restricted, the identity of alternating vowels is partially predictable: only mid vowels delete, but even mid vowels cannot delete in some contexts. We report on two nonce word studies asking Russian speakers to rate paradigms in which a vowel was deleted. The ratings strongly correlated with the quality of the vowel: deletion of mid vowels was rated higher than deletion of high and low vowels. We also found that deletion in certain syllabic contexts was rated as ungrammatical: deletion cannot affect words that have a complex coda, and it cannot create clusters with a medial sonorant. Finally, deletion in disyllables was rated higher than deletion in monosyllables, reflecting the trends in the lexicon. These results suggest that even for this lexically-restricted alternation, speakers have formed a phonological generalization.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)735-765
    Number of pages31
    JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Aug 2013


    • Allomorphy
    • Analogy
    • Lexical exceptions
    • Lexically indexed constraints
    • Russian
    • Wug test
    • Yer deletion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


    Dive into the research topics of 'Nonce words show that Russian yer alternations are governed by the grammar'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this