The root structure of Lithuanian inflective words
Keywords:morpheme, root, vowel, consonant
The aim of this research is to identify the structural patterns of root morphemes of Lithuanian inflective words and to establish their productivity and frequency. First, with reference to the earlier work conducted by Lithuanian linguists, we discuss the structural diversity of root morphemes and determine the productivity of structural patterns (the number of different roots of a specific pattern). Then we analyse data from real usage. For this stage, the database of the morphemics of the Lithuanian language (Lietuvių kalbos morfemikos duomenų bazė) was used. 265 thousand usage instances of inflective words constitute the research data.
The analysis of the root structure allows drawing the following conclusions: 1) although the diversity of morpheme structure is rich, only roots of simple structure are productive and frequent (roots whose onsets or codas contain one to two consonants), 2) root morphemes are non-syllabic or vary from monosyllabic to trisyllabic (non-syllabic roots are the most productive and the most frequent), 3) consonant clusters are not frequent in the middle of a morpheme (they were identified in a third of all roots), 4) the number of consonants in a root usually does not exceed six, 5) onset consonant clusters concur with the pattern of a syllable beginning; consonant clusters in codas and medial clusters are more diverse.
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