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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the cross-linguistically rare case of mobile affixation in three Western Armenian varieties, in which the Indicative marker alternates between a prefixal and a suffixal realization depending on the context. In Hamshen Armenian, conditioning is fully phonological: the Indicative is a prefix if the verb is vowel-initial and a suffix elsewhere. However, in Gyumri and Akhalkalaki Armenian, the placement of the Indicative marker is subject to a curious interleaving between phonological and syntactic conditions. First, if a consonant-initial verb is alone in some relevant syntactic domain, the affix takes a suffixal position, but if there is extra syntactic elements present, it surfaces as a prefix (syntactic condition). This domain is similar to syntactic phases but not always isomorphic to them. In Akhalkalaki, the Indicative is even capable of leaving the verb base and cliticizing onto the constituent bearing the sentential stress. We discuss the data and provide a preliminary analysis.

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