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By B. Phillips

This learn of observe frequency results on sound swap presents a answer of the Neogrammarian controversy. Betty S. Phillips discusses the consequences for phonology and historic linguistics of particular types of switch affecting the main widespread phrases first and different different types of swap affecting the least widespread phrases first.

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Before the “neogrammarian paradox” can be resolved, it is crucial to reemphasize that phonetic conditioning does not rule out lexical conditioning. Lexical diffusion acts always within phonetic environments, as will be amply demonstrated in Chapters 2 and 3. This makes it distinct, for example, from sporadic cultural borrowing of individual lexical items from other dialects or languages, where often the pronunciation of an individual lexical item is borrowed (tomato /qljbql/ vs. ql/, either [fB>„] vs.

471) And he articulates the neogrammarian paradox, that is, if Wang and his associates are right about lexical diffusion, and the Neogrammarians were more right than they knew about sound change, how can both be right? ” Neither formulation is very useful as it stands; they are abstract slogans that have lost their connection with what is actually happening. (p. 541) In order to describe what might indeed be happening, it is first necessary to look more closely at the Northern Cities Shift, Labov’s prime example of a neogrammarian shift, the “most extreme forms [of which] are to be found in the largest cities: Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago” (Labov 1991: 20).

Four of the words were more frequently used as forestressed nouns (favor, poison, practice, struggle), four as backstressed nouns (control, debate, dispute, report), four as forestressed verbs (handle, notice, rescue, welcome) and four as backstressed verbs (embrace, escape, neglect, reply). The speakers were recorded twice, first reading a list of 75 pure verbs which included the 16 ambiguous word forms, then reading a list of 75 pure nouns which again included the 16 ambiguous forms. ” That is, forestressed verb-dominant nouns had less amplitude on the first syllable than did noun-dominant nouns; and backstressed noun-dominant nouns had less amplitude on the last syllable than did verb-dominant nouns, independent of whether the words were read as nouns among other nouns or as verbs among other verbs.

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