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IOL 2005 Problem #5 Lithuanian

In Lithuanian nouns the accent may move according to the number and the case of the nouns, i.e. different syllables may be accented in different forms of the same word. The pattern of accent movement is called the accent paradigm of the noun.

There are two types of syllables in Lithuanian. If a syllable of the first type is accented, that syllable has falling intonation marked «´», e.g. íe, ó, ál. If a syllable of the second type is accented, that syllable has rising intonation marked «˜», e.g. , õ, iẽ.

Within the same root or the same ending, the syllable type always remains the same. For example, the root liep, when accented, always has falling intonation, whereas the ending of the Nominative Plural os always has rising intonation.

The following examples illustrate the four main types of Lithuanian accent paradigms (they look somewhat different in modern Lithuanian, but this is irrelevant for the problem):

Example linden hand head winter
Nom. Sg. líepo rankó galvó žiemó
Gen. Sg. líepos rañkos galvõs žiemõs
Nom. Pl. líepos rañkos gálvos žiẽmos
Nom. Sg. líepaNs rankáNs gálvaNs žiemáNs

In the late 19th century, the great Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure studies the accent paradigms in Lithuanian nouns and came to the conclusion that at an earlier stage of the development of Lithuanian there were not four, but only two accent paradigms. Later, as a result of a specific rule, which is now known as Saussure's Law, the accent moved under certain conditions, and each paradigm split in two.

(a) Determine which accent paradigms originally belonged together.

(b) Determine what the initial accent paradigms looked like.

(c) Formulate Saussure's Law.

ž is a specific Lithuanian consonant, N shows a specific (nasal) pronunciation of the preceding vowel. The Lithuanian language is of the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by 3 million people in Lithuania and some other countries.

—Alexander M. Lubotsky