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Über die Entstehung des Deklinationstyps kuli, kuliho

Ursula Doleschal

In this article we are tracing the rise and development of a special mixed declension in the West Slavic languages Czech, Slovak and Polish. This declensional class comprises only masculine animate loanwords ending in a front vowel. This class is special in several ways: 1) it is restricted to loanwords and thus serves the function of integration of the former into the inflectional system; 2) it is very productive, i.e., it integrates all nouns meeting the phonological and morphological conditions without exception; 3) its rise goes counter the “tendency towards analytism”; 4) it combines adjectival and nominal endings and thus cannot be traced back to one of the Proto-Slavonic declensions.

In order to find out about the beginnings and development of the declension in question, I have studied grammars of the respective languages from the beginnings of grammaticography up to the present. The results are only tentative: The mixed declension seems to have arisen first in Polish, although its roots come from Czech. Its full acknowledgement, both in the singular and plural, comes only in the second half of the 20th century. For Slovak and Polish the forms of the singular are mentioned in grammars from the middle of the 19th century, for Czech only at the beginning of the 20th century. On the other hand, citations in historical grammars, dictionaries and original sources show that nouns ending in /i/ or /i:/ were affected earlier than nouns in /e/ or /e:/. Moreover the sources, along with the old grammars, seem to indicate that not all cases were affected at the same time. It is therefore necessary to investigate original texts for all three languages to get a clearer picture of this interesting phenomenon.

Linguistische Beiträge zur Slavistik. XIV. JungslavistInnen-Treffen Stuttgart 2005. Hg. Ljudmila Geist und Grit Mehlhorn. München: Sagner 2008 (= Specimina Philologiae Slavicae 150), 51–64.