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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Syncope as the Cause of Präteritumschwund: New Data from an Early New High German Corpus
Author: Christopher D Sapp
Email: click here TO access email
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.


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 4.

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