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Bookmark and Share Paper 3049

Sound Change without Frequency Effects: Ramifications for Phonological Theory
Meredith Tamminga
457-465 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

Exemplar-based models of phonology predict that frequent words should lead sound change. This study tests that prediction with data on the LIKE homonym set, which undergoes /ay/-raising in Philadelphia. The different LIKE homonyms (verb, discourse marker, conjunction, etc.), despite large frequency differences, are shown to undergo /ay/-raising not only simultaneously but with consistently near-identical values. The exception is the lexical verb, which starts out with a lower nucleus than the other homonyms and then catches up. This difference is argued to be the result of function word reduction in speech production rather than a reflection of phonetic differences in the lexicon. The inability of pure exemplar theory to constrain frequent effects from arising is a weakness; hybrid models with an intervening level of phonological representation are promising in this respect.

Published in

Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00