Phonemicization vs. phonologization

Voiced fricatives in Old English and Brythonic

August 29, 2013

2013 Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK

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Categories:  Celtic English Historical phonology Laryngeal phonology Language contact Contrast in phonology

(with Patrick Honeybone)

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We consider the status of ‘voiced’ (really lenis) fricatives in Old English and in Brythonic Celtic. In the received view, they are not ‘phonemic’ in Old English, yet their distribution is clearly sensitive to phonological structure. We propose that they are distinct phonological symbols, coerced into predictable distributions by the phonological computation. We also offer a similar analysis for Brythonic Celtic. The situation is argued to result as a predictable consequence of the life cycle of phonological processes rather than from language contact, contra previous suggestions.



About me

I’m Pavel Iosad, and I'm a Lecturer in Theoretical Phonology in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. ¶ You can always go to the start page to learn more.

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