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"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: The Phonology and Morphology of Function Word Contractions in German
Author: Barış Kabak
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://ling.uni-konstanz.de/pages/home/kabak/
Institution: Universität Konstanz
Author: René Schiering
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: German
Abstract: The observation that adjacent function words are typically contracted has
been made for a number of languages including German. However, the problems
this phenomenon poses for phonology still need to be treated. Furthermore,
the extent to which function word contractions set the stage for the
evolution of inflected function words from simple cliticization remains to
be explored. This paper first addresses issues with regard to the prosodic
representation of function word sequences preceding lexical words (i.e.,
[Fnc Fnc Lex]). Investigating such contractions in a number of German
dialects, it will be shown that a sequence of Fnc Fnc constitutes a special
phonological unit of its own, which is arguably a trochaic foot that adjoins
to the neighboring prosodic word. It will be argued that this analysis
accounts for several phonological processes that are peculiar to function
word contractions, and also predicts phonological fusion in which the second
function word is reduced. Second, the paper suggests that the phonological
fusion of function words sets the stage for a number of diachronic processes
such as reanalysis and analogical extension, which arguably lead to the
evolution of paradigms of inflected function words.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Comparative Germanic Linguistics, 9
Publication Info: to appear


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