Evolution of Accentual System: Semantic Factor in the Stress Masculine Nouns in Several Transcarpathian Ukrainian Villages

Elena Boudovskaia, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper is devoted to the development of stress in the declension of monosyllabic masculine nouns in several villages in Transcarpathian Ukraine. The Transcarpathian dialects, separated from the Ukrainian-speaking mainland for nearly one thousand years, display not only numerous archaic features, but also a number of specific innovations, e.g. a different development in stress system compared to the development in Contemporary Standard Ukrainian (CSU). The paper is based on the materials from my own field recordings in six Transcarpathian villages.

According to the reconstruction of accentual system in Common Slavic (Dybo et al. 1990, Zaliznjak 1985), the majority of monosyllabic masculine nouns with barytone stress in sg (a.p.a, c, and partially d) had barytone stress in Npl. Now both in CSU and Transcarpathian dialects, among monosyllabic masculine nouns with barytone stress in sg, in Npl some take oxytone stress, while others have barytone stress. The choice in both CSU and Transcarpathian dialects appears to correlate with the semantics of the noun: names of objects tend to have different stress in Npl than abstract/mass nouns. The semantic factor must be a later innovation in both CSU and the dialects, since it does not play a role in the reconstructed Common Slavic system. However, the specific development in CSU and in the dialects is not the same. In the Transcarpathian material in names of objects, barytone stress in Npl is predominant, while in abstract (and possibly mass) nouns, oxytone stress prevails. In CSU the distribution is different: abstract and mass nouns tend to have barytone stress in Npl to a larger degree than objects, while objects tend to have a larger percent of oxytone stress.

Since, according to the reconstruction, the barytone stress in Npl is an archaism, while the oxytone stress in Npl is an innovation, the Transcarpathian dialects preserve the archaic situation best in the names of objects, while allowing a larger number of innovations in non-count (mass and abstract) nouns. The spread of innovation in mass and abstract nouns might be due to the influence of u-stem nouns.

The semantization of stress based on the distinction between count and non-count nouns in the paradigms of masculine gender is known, though in a different form, also in modern Russian, where among monosyllabic masculine nouns, count nouns are characterized by oxytone stress in sg, and non-count nouns by barytone stress: Gsg stolá 'table' vs. súpa 'soup' (in pl, stress in these nouns is distributed according to the pragmatic factor of familiarity/non-familiarity: Npl frequent stolý, supý vs. non-frequent zóndy 'probes', žánry 'genres' – see Zaliznjak 1985). According to Zaliznjak, that situation is typical for the development of the Common Slavic accent system (where word stress depended only on the accent marking of constituent morphemes) towards the present state where the old state of affairs may be traced, but the synchronic stress depends on numerous derivational, semantic and pragmatic factors.