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Languages 2017, 2(4), 23; doi:10.3390/languages2040023

Syntactic Variation in Diminutive Suffixes: Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen

Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Schützenstraße 18, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Academic Editors: Usha Lakshmanan and Osmer Balam
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract

This article presents a syntactic analysis and comparison of diminutive suffixes in Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen, three genetically unrelated languages of the Russian Federation. Kolyma Yukaghir and Itelmen are on the verge of extinction. This article investigates how contact with Russian (specifically the syntax of Russian diminutives) has influenced the syntax of diminutives in Kolyma Yukaghir and Itlemen. Adopting the framework of Distributed Morphology, a syntactic analysis of diminutives across the three languages reveals that they share the same manner of syntactic attachment, but differ in regards to the site or place of attachment. Specifically, it is proposed that diminutives in all three languages are syntactic modifiers; however, in relation to the place of attachment, in Russian, diminutives attach below the functional category of Number, while diminutives in Kolyma Yukaghir and Itelmen attach above the Number category. This article contributes to our understanding of variation in universal grammar and linguistic outcomes of the syntactic feature ‘diminutive’ in a multilingual situation where a majority language is in contact with two genetically unrelated endangered languages. View Full-Text
Keywords: Morphosyntax; Distributed Morphology; diminutive suffix; expressive suffix; endangered languages; language contact; language change; Kolyma Yukaghir; Itelmen; Russian Morphosyntax; Distributed Morphology; diminutive suffix; expressive suffix; endangered languages; language contact; language change; Kolyma Yukaghir; Itelmen; Russian
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Steriopolo, O. Syntactic Variation in Diminutive Suffixes: Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen. Languages 2017, 2, 23.

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