Chapter published in:Language Variation - European Perspectives VII: Selected papers from the Ninth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 9), Malaga, June 2017
Edited by Juan-Andrés Villena-Ponsoda, Francisco Díaz Montesinos, Antonio-Manuel Ávila-Muñoz and Matilde Vida-Castro
[Studies in Language Variation 22] 2019
► pp. 28–51
Of clocks, clouds and sound change
The study of sound change has evolved from a heuristic tool for 19th century comparative historical reconstruction into the backbone of the rigid approach to language change developed by the Neogrammarians. In the course of the 20th and early 21st century it has become the main meeting point for a range of subdisciplines of linguistics (historical linguistics, dialectology, sociolinguistics, phonology, phonetics and cognitivist approaches to phonetic variation). This contribution sketches some of the main aspects of the approaches to sound change taken in the various corners of the field. By way of a synthesis a theory will be outlined in which three approaches to sound change dovetail to account for the huge and seemingly chaotic body of insights into the phenomenon. Empirical studies of instances of both historical and ongoing sound change in specific varieties of Dutch will serve to illustrate parts of the theory.
Keywords: awareness, Exemplar Theory, generative phonology, hyperdialectism, indicator, marker, stereotype, lexically diffuse sound change, lexical frequency effects, life cycle of sound change, (mis–)perception, Neogrammarians, opacity, Optimality Theory, style, Usage based phonology, variation
Published online: 12 December 2019
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