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Academic Paper


Title: Analogy in the emergence of intrusive-r in English
Author: Marton Soskuthy
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Abstract: This article presents a novel approach to the phenomenon of intrusive-r in English based on analogy. The main claim of the article is that intrusive-r in non-rhotic dialects of English is the result of the analogical extension of the r~zero alternation shown by words such as far, more and dear. While this idea has been around for a long time, this is the first study that explores this type of analysis in detail. Specifically, I provide an overview of the developments that led to the emergence of intrusive-r and show that they are fully compatible with an analogical approach. This includes the analysis of frequency data taken from an eighteenth-century corpus of English compiled specifically for the purposes of this article and the discussion of a related development, namely intrusive-l. The article also presents a review of the evidence about the variability of intrusive-r, which serves as the basis of an evaluation of previous approaches. Once the notion of analogy is made formally explicit, the analogical approach becomes capable of providing a unified account of the historical development and the variability of intrusive-r. This is demonstrated through a computer simulation of the emergence of the phenomenon based on the eighteenth-century corpus mentioned above. The results of the simulation confirm the predictions of the analogical approach.

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This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 17, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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