Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

The Social Origins of Language

By Daniel Dor

Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


New from Brill!

ad

Free Access 4 You

Free access to several Brill linguistics journals, such as Journal of Jewish Languages, Language Dynamics and Change, and Brill’s Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics.


Academic Paper


Title: A diachronic frequency account of the allomorphy of some grammatical markers
Author: Thomas Berg
Institution: Universität Hamburg
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Allomorphy is a reaction of the morphological system to problems that the unrestrained application of inflectional and other rules creates at the phonological level. These problems are dealt with in some cases but left unattended in others. A diachronic analysis of English reveals that phonemically conditioned allomorphy originates from gradual sound change, with the old and the new variant forming a morphophonological paradigm. The historical stability as well as the synchronic motivation of allomorphy are claimed to be frequency-based. The higher the frequency, the longer the life expectancy. Synchronically, there is a (language- and domain-specific) frequency threshold above which morphophonological variation occurs and below which it fails to occur. The underlying logic of the model is that frequency encourages lexicalization at all linguistic levels. The relative ease with which high-frequency items are accessed enhances the tolerance towards formal variation, hence the emergence of natural phonological rules. As the application of these rules is context-dependent, allomorphy arises as a context-sensitive process. Repair strategies are also argued to be under the sway of frequency. Epenthesis is found in highly frequent structures while coalescence is reserved for less frequent ones. Frequency also determines the scope and the optionality of morphophonological rules. Phonemically governed allomorphy is shown to be a member of the larger family of variationist phenomena which are bound together by their sensitivity to frequency.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Linguistics Vol. 47, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



Back
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page