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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: Tonal accents and rhyme in 18th-century Swedish
Author: Elisabet Jönsson-Steiner
Institution: Universität Konstanz
Author: Aditi Lahiri
Institution: University of Oxford
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: Swedish
Abstract: In Modern Swedish certain groups of morphemes are systematically involved in word forms that would be expected to get Accent 2 but that surface with Accent 1. Thus, Swedish infinitives usually get Accent 2 ( ‘seize’), but in combination with certain prefixes, that were borrowed from Middle Low German, infinitives will always be Accent 1 ( ‘comprehend’). The dominance and systematic occurrence of Accent 1 suggests viewing it as the lexically specified accent. In this article we are looking for historical facts about these types of words and morphemes to see if we can draw any conclusions concerning lexical accent specification for native vs. non-native morphemes. By investigating the comments on rhymes and accents in the 18th-century poetic manual by Anders Nicander (1707–1781) in combination with his own rhymed verse we can provide information about 18th-century and modern tonal oppositions in Swedish.


This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 31, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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