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  • 1 Pázmány Péter Catholic University H-2087 Piliscsaba Egyetem u. 1 Hungary
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In this paper we look at the demise of perfective reduplication in Latin and seek to answer the question why this process of erosion followed a phonologically rather strictly defined path. The small set of remaining reduplicated perfects is not a random collection of leftovers from the ruins of earlier morphology (as it is e.g. in Gothic) but displays remarkable phonological coherence in the documented period of the language. To understand why this should be so we look at the relevant phonotactic properties of simplex forms. It appears quite clearly that, for a variety of reasons, the number of stems beginning with p V p , t V t , k V k , b V b and s V s increased in the prehistory of Latin. The fact that this occurred and that voiceless stops figure more prominently in this configuration than other types of consonants may well have given rise to a new phonotactic pattern in which such stem-initial sequences were now legitimate (as opposed to Proto-Indo-European). It seems to be a plausible explanation that perfective verb forms remained reduplicated only if they conformed to this new phonotactic pattern.