Phonological Movement in Ukrainian

Victoria Teliga, Brian Agbayani, Chris Golston


Extant accounts of scrambling in Ukrainian generally don’t extend past object- and other NP-related processes (Féry et al. 2007, Mykhaylyk 2010). Analysis of Slavic scrambling as XP movement (Corver 1992, Bošković 2005) runs into problems with split constituency, as does OT syntax (Gouskova 2001). Remnant movement (Sekerina 1997, Bašić 2004) runs afoul of Slavic data and theory too (Pereltsvaig 2008, Kariaeva 2009). Analyses that mix syntax with prosody (Antonyuk-Yudina & Mykhaylyk 2013; Mykhaylyk 2012) are more promising but also fail. Ukrainian scrambles only prosodic entities, ignores core principles of syntax, and respects core principles of phonology.
The driving force behind the scrambling is not our focus here. It is generally assumed to be pragmatic in nature, based on things like topic, focus, and givenness (e.g., Féry et al. 2007). Fanselow & Lenertová have recently argued against this, however, and claim for most scrambling that ‘accentuation rather than informational status determines which categories can be fronted’ (2012:169); their findings support Chomsky’s (2008) view that information structure does not result in movement. We leave this to future research and focus here on which part of the grammar the movement takes place in. We propose that Ukrainian scrambling is phonological movement of exactly the sort found in Ancient Greek and Latin (Agbayani & Golston 2010, 2016), and similar to the more limited type found in Japanese (Agbayani, Golston & Ishii 2015) and Irish (Bennett, Elfner, & McCloskey 2016).


phonological movement; prosodic hierarchy

Full Text:



AGBAYANI, BRIAN, and CHRIS GOLSTON. 2010. Phonological movement in Classical Greek. Language 86.1, 133-67.

AGBAYANI, BRIAN, CHRIS GOLSTON and TORU ISHII. 2015. Syntactic and prosodic scrambling in Japanese. Natural

Language and Linguistic Theory 33, 47-77.

AGBAYANI, BRIAN, and CHRIS GOLSTON. 2016. Phonological movement in Latin. Phonology 33.1.

ANTONYUK-YUDINA, SVITLANA, and ROKSOLANA MYKHAYLYK. 2013. Prosodic effects in word order: evidence from

Ukrainian. Proceedings of NELS 40. MIT.

BAŠIĆ, MONIKA. 2004. Nominal subextractions and the structure of NPs in Serbian and English. Tromsø masters thesis.

BENNETT, RYAN, EMILY ELFNER, and JIM MCCLOSKEY. 2016. Lightest to the right: an apparently anomalous

displacement in Irish. Linguistic Inquiry 47.2.

BOŠKOVIĆ, ŽELJKO. 2005. On the locality of left branch extraction and the structure of NP. Studia Linguistica 59, 1-45.

CHOMSKY, NOAM. 1995. The minimalist program. Cambridge: MIT Press.

CHOMSKY, NOAM. 2008. On phases. Foundational issues in linguistic theory: Essays in honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud,

ed. by Robert Freidin, Carlos P. Otero and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta, 133–166. Cambridge: MIT Press.

CORVER, NORBERT. 1992. Left branch extraction. Proceedings of NELS 22, 67-84.

FANSELOW, GISBERT, and DENISA LENERTOVÁ. 2011. Left peripheral focus: mismatches between syntax and information

structure. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 29, 169–209.

FÉRY, CAROLINE, ALLA PASLAWSKA and GISBERT FANSELOW. 2007. Nominal split constructions in Ukrainian. Journal

of the Slavic Linguistics Society 15.1, 3–48.

FRANKS, STEVEN, and LJILJANA PROGOVAC. 1994. On the placement of Serbo-Croatian clitics. Indiana Slavic Studies 7,


FRANKS, STEVEN, and MICHAEL YADROFF. 2002. The origin of prepositions. Current Issues in Formal Slavic

Linguistics, ed. by Uwe Junghanns, Luka Szucsich and Gerhild Zybatow, 69-79. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

HENDERER, DASHA. 2009. Phonological movement in colloquial Russian. California State University Fresno, ms.

HUANG, C.-T. JAMES. 1982. Logical relations in Chinese and the theory of grammar. MIT dissertation.

INKELAS, SHARON. 1989. Prosodic constituency in the lexicon. Stanford dissertation.

KARIAEVA, NATALIA. 2009. Radical discontinuity: syntax at the interface. Rutgers dissertation.

LEBEN, WILL. 1973. Suprasegmental phonology. MIT dissertation.

MYKHAYLYK, ROKSOLANA. 2010. Optional object scrambling in child and adult Ukrainian. Stony Brook dissertation.

MYKHAYLYK, ROKSOLANA. 2012. Change in prosody as an alternative: evidence from acquisition. Proceedings of the

th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium, Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 18.1, 179-188.

PERELTSVAIG, ASYA. 2008. Split phrases in colloquial Russian. Studia Linguistica 62, 5–38.

ROSS, JOHN ROBERT. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. MIT dissertation.

SEKERINA, IRINA. 1997. The syntax and processing of scrambling constructions in Russian. CUNY dissertation.

SELKIRK, ELIZABETH O. 1986. On derived domains in sentence phonology. Phonology Yearbook 3, 371–405.

ZWICKY, ARNOLD, and GEOFFREY PULLUM. 1986a. The principle of phonology-free syntax: introductory remarks. Ohio

State University Working Papers in Linguistics 32, 63–91.

ZWICKY, ARNOLD, and GEOFFREY PULLUM. 1986b. Two spurious counterexamples to the principle of phonology-free

syntax. Ohio State University Working Papers in Linguistics 32, 92–99.


Copyright (c) 2016 Victoria Teliga, Brian Agbayani, Chris Golston

License URL: