Nicole Nau

Declension classes in Latvian and Latgalian: Morphomics vs. morphophonology

This paper explores the system of noun declension in Latvian and Latgalian. It is claimed that despite superficial similarities the principles underlying the two systems are different. In Latvian, a characteristic vowel that has no other function than to distinguish classes is present in most case-endings. In Latgalian inflectional morphology, on the other hand, an important feature is the distinction between phonologically hard vs. soft stems. In the case of hybrid nouns, a conflict between inherited membership to a declension class and morphophonological principles leads to variation in case-assignment. The data support the thesis that in the case of external motivation class-membership loses its function of predicting the forms of a paradigm.

Keywords: inflection classes, paradigms, declension, morphophonology, Latvian, Latgalian