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The Language Hoax

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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: How Stable are Morphological Doublets? A Case Study of // ∼ Ø Variants in Dutch and German
Author: Carol Fehringer
Institution: Newcastle University
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Subject Language: Dutch
German
Abstract: This paper examines the diachronic development and synchronic status of morphological doublets in Dutch derivation (adjectives in -(e)lijk) and German inflection (genitives in -(e)s) in the light of the commonly held view that functionally equivalent doublets are rare in morphology and, where they do exist, tend to be small in number and diachronically unstable (see, for example, Kroch 1994). It is shown here that large numbers of doublets can thrive for centuries, despite the fact that they require a high degree of arbitrary lexical information, while others tend to be eliminated systematically by organizing words into lexical "gangs" defined by phonological and morphological properties. It is also argued that the lexically conditioned nature of the inflectional doublets provides evidence for the wholesale lexical listing of German genitives.

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This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 16, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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