Dialectal and diachronic distribution of case forms in Lithuanian pain-verb constructions


This article deals with the variation in case marking in ᴘᴀɪɴ-vᴇʀʙ ᴄoɴsᴛʀᴜᴄᴛɪoɴs, where in Lithuanian one finds (1) the standard language variant: accusative marked body-part and (2) the dialectal variant: nominative marked body-part. In this article, a clear distinction is made between ᴘᴀɪɴ-sᴘᴇᴄɪꜰɪᴄ vᴇʀʙs, verbs which originally denote pain like e.g. skaudėti, sopėti and ᴅᴇʀɪvᴇᴅ ᴘᴀɪɴ vᴇʀʙs, verbs borrowed from other semantic classes. This study focuses on the ᴘᴀɪɴ-sᴘᴇᴄɪꜰɪᴄ vᴇʀʙs. A study on the dialectal distribution of this variation and its occurrence in old texts is conducted with the aims: (1) to answer the question which construction is the older, (2) to give a clear picture of the dialectal and geographical distribution of this case variation and finally (3) to demonstrate that dialectal data can be used effectively and reliably to investigate diachronic processes and thus contribute to a deeper understanding of the relationship between synchronic variation and diachronic change. The results of the dialectal part of the study reveal that nominative marked body-parts are found in a much wider area than only in Northwestern Lithuania as has sometimes been claimed. They are prevalent in Northwestern Lithuania and also in Eastern Lithuania, but found in all regions and not dialectally restricted. Accusative marking is prevalent in South and West Aukštaitian, which might explain why accusative was selected as the standard form in the Lithuanian Standard Language. The findings in the old texts reveal that nominative is more prevalent in older texts, with only very few examples of accusative marking. This was noticeable in both religious texts from the 16th and 17th c. as well as in old dictionaries dating from before the 20th. c. The findings of this study provide evidence that nominative was the original case marking of body-parts with ᴘᴀɪɴ-sᴘᴇᴄɪꜰɪᴄ vᴇʀʙs.


Lithuanian; dialects; Old Lithuanian; case alternation; nominative; accusative; pain-specific verbs


Published : 2014-12-31

Bjarnadóttir, V. (2014). Dialectal and diachronic distribution of case forms in Lithuanian pain-verb constructions. Baltic Linguistics, 5, 9-57. https://doi.org/10.32798/bl.402

Valgerđur Bjarnadóttir  valgerdur.bjarnadottir@gmail.com
Stockolms universitet, Institutionen för baltiska språk, finska och tyska, SE-10691 Stockholm  Sweden