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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Academic Paper


Title: Syncope as the Cause of <i>Präteritumschwund</i>: New Data from an Early New High German Corpus
Author: Christopher D Sapp
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://home.olemiss.edu/~csapp
Institution: University of Mississippi
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Abstract: This paper examines the cause of the decline of the preterite tense in favor of the present perfect tense in Early New High German. This development has long been attributed to apocope, which rendered the 3sg. weak preterite suffix -te homophonous with the 3sg. present suffix -t. By analyzing a database of over 20,000 past-tense clauses, this study evaluates the apocope account and more recent hypotheses. The resulting data lead to a new explanation: syncope in the 2sg. and 2pl. of weak verbs yielded dispreferred final clusters (-tst and -tt), resulting in a preference in these contexts for the present perfect, which then spread to other contexts.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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