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Academic Paper


Title: Analogy in the emergence of intrusive-r in English
Author: MartonSoskuthy
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.

CUP at LINGUIST

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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