LINGUIST List 16.2543|
Fri Sep 02 2005
Diss: Historical Ling: Southern: 'The Wandering S ...'
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The Wandering S: The problem of the s-mobile in Germanic and Indo-European
Message 1: The Wandering S: The problem of the s-mobile in Germanic and Indo-European
From: Mark Southern <msouthermiddlebury.edu>
Subject: The Wandering S: The problem of the s-mobile in Germanic and Indo-European
Institution: Princeton University
Program: Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1997
Author: Mark R. V. Southern
Dissertation Title: The Wandering S: The problem of the s-mobile in Germanic and Indo-European
Subject Language(s): None ()
Language Family(ies): English
Robert P. Ebert
Mark R. Hale
Brent H. Vine
The movable s defies distributional predictability, within Indo-European
and later daughter-languages. Word-initial s-/zero alternations occur
across every IE dialect-group, apparently without conditioning or living
morphological function, nonetheless in certain languages — chiefly Germanic
and Balto-Slavic — exhibiting unexpected, regenerative durability. Enigmas
surrounding its morphophonemic origins have eluded satisfactory resolution.
Phonologically-conditioned sentential sandhi, involving *s-degemination
across word-boundaries by sound-rule, alongside metanalysis (n-orange),
does not adequately account for the data's nature and spread, even with the
help of analogical extension and hypercorrection (accretion/loss).
Chapters 1-2 deal with phonological-distribution issues; Chapter 3 explores
origin, character and function. IE s-movable's original and subsequent
nature is investigated for possible morphological explanations,
particularly as applied to root-structure constraints, to motivate and
classify the doublets' structurally anomalous behavior. Initial ±s shows
symmetry with root-final s-clusters; a system-gap is filled. S-loss is
probably the dominant dynamic, with complementary s-addition effects.
S-loss primacy is borne out by the secondary, successive continuation of
s-movable into Germanic. The chronological layering of Germanic evidence
relative to the Sound Shifts supplies an unusual vantage-point for
observing the process over time. Chapter 4 views s-mobile's later
development against the extraordinary preponderance of material
specifically from the Germanic dialects, morphologically analyzed
case-by-case. To questions of word-boundaries' non-salience, OHG evidence
(Celtic, Indic) for Auslaut-conditioned word-initial voicing alternants
(Nôtkêrs Anlautgesetz) suggests that the IE sentence-string was a
linguistically significant unit surprisingly late. Stabreim, binomial
pairs, phonetic and prosodic attributes, and expressive
(affectively-flavored) features contribute to the composite Germanic
picture. S-movable's survival and successive renewal are considered in the
light of evidence for Germanic's dialectal archaism within IE.
Chapters 5-6 discuss the detailed Germanic, Baltic, and pan-IE evidence
against relative chronology and phrasal-domain hierarchies
(word-boundaries' porosity), and against the cross-linguistically marked,
unstable phonetic character of sibilants, particularly their clusters.
Beside the IE's sibilant's phonological isolation are set S-clusters'
phonemic extraneousness, late acquisition, and ready simplifiability, in
child-language and aphasia.
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