The Accentuation of ne in Balkan Slavic

Matthew Baerman, University of California, Berkeley

In Standard Bulgarian (SB) the negative particle ne is unstressed when part of a VP, e.g,. ne KAzvam. Verb-headed clitics (pronoun or auxiliary) are likewise typically unstressed, e.g., KAzvam mu, KAzal sam, shte KAzha. However, when ne appears together with these clitics, stress falls on the syllable immediately following ne, e.g., ne GO KAzvam, ne SAM KAzal, ne SHTE KAzha. In many Macedonian dialects (MD) - from Kumanovo south to Kilkis, and then west to Florina - a similar situation is found, but with one crucial difference. As in SB, ne is unstressed when immediately preceding a verb, e.g., ne SAkam, and clitics are unstressed when not preceded by ne, e.g., go SAkam. When ne is followed by a clitic, stress appears; however, in contrast to SB, in MD this stress falls on ne and not on the following clitic, e.g., NE go SAkam.

The similarity between SB and MD with respect to these constructions can be attributed to an identical morphological structure, the differences stemming from different systems of default phonology. It is proposed here that ne and the clitic forms it interacts with comprise a class of defective Morphological Words (MWds). Whereas ordinary MWds are marked as having both a beginning and an end - thus [word] - defective MWds are marked only as having a beginning or an end, thus [clitic or clitic]. These can be termed onset clitics vs. terminal clitics. When an onset clitic is followed by a terminal clitic, the result is a complete MWd; thus [clitic + clitic] ---> [word]. Universal phonological principles apply to interpret every MWd as a Phonological Word (PWd). The phonological hierarchy that obtains throughout Slavic requires that every PWd contain a stressed syllable, so that the PWd created from the union of an onset clitic with a terminal clitic is assigned stress by the phonology itself. Where SB and MD differ is in stress alignment; in SB, default stress is aligned to the righthand PWd edge, e.g., (ne GO), while in MD it is aligned to the left edge, e.g., (NE go). Here onset and terminal clitics fail to find matching partners, the result is a subminimal MWd, which fails to meet the requirements for PWd. The result is unincorporated phonological material; thus e.g., in SB:

Morphology ---> Phonology
[ne + [kazvam] ---> ne (kazvam)
[ne mu] go] [kazvam] ---> (ne mu) go (kazvam)
[shte] mu] [kazha] --> shte mu (kazha)

On this interpretation stress is not a property either of ne or the clitics that may follow it; hence its mobility across the different dialects. However, some Bulgarian dialects show a transitional state of affairs, which suggests that lexical marking of stress may play a role. In the dialect of Vojnjagovo (Karlovsko), ne + auxiliary behaves as in SB, e.g. ne SI mi KAzal, ne SHTE da mu raBOti, while ne + pronominal clitic behaves as in MD, e.g., NE mi DAva. This can be accounted for if two assumptions are made: (1) stress alignment is to the left edge of the PWd, as in MD; (2) auxiliaries are underlyingly stressed. Default left alignment of stress is seen only where neither of the components bears lexically marked stress, i.e. when ne is followed by a pronominal clitic. Where ne is followed by an auxiliary, its underlying stress supersedes default stress. Realization of stress on auxiliaries is constrained by the morphological conditions described above: when not preceded by ne, the auxiliary fails to constitute a full MWd, and is ignored by word level phonology, so that no stress appears on the surface. Underlying stress on auxiliaries can be postulated for SB as well, where it coincides with default stress. Thus the three accentual patterns (SB, MD, Vojnjagovo) can be described as the result of two isoglosses: (1) default left alignment of stress (MD, Karlovo) vs. right alignment (SB); and (2) underlyingly stressed auxiliaries (SB, Vojnjagovo) vs. unstressed auxiliaries (MD).