Phonetic evidence for clitic-host relations within the prepositional group in Russian

Author(s): Daniil Kocharov, Tatiana Kachkovskaia and Pavel Skrelin


The paper presents a corpus-based research on clitic-host relations within the prepositional group in Russian. As a phonetic criterion for determining the relation between clitics and their hosts, we suggest using the degree of vowel reduction — the phenomenon functioning within the prosodic word. A comparison of vowel reduction patterns for clitic group vs prosodic word with no adjacent clitics provides phonetic evidence on the status of clitics in Russian. For our research we have chosen the most numerous class of clitics — prepositions. In addition, we have divided prosodic words with no prepositions into those with and without prefixes. Our study has shown that the vowel reduction pattern is the same for all three groups of prosodic words. This may serve as phonetic evidence for three conclusions: (1) prepositional clitics in Russian form a single prosodic word with the following host; (2) vowel reduction pattern applies across morpheme boundaries within the prosodic word; (3) prepositions and prefixes do not differ in terms of vowel reduction patterns. Additionally, we have found that prepositions have slightly weaker degree of reduction compared with prefixes and non-prefixal word-initial syllables, but this difference is just above the 5% significance level.