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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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Query Details


Query Subject:   Allomorphic Variation in the English Article System
Author:   Sue Fox
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology
Phonology
Subject Language(s):  English


Query:   I am investigating variable allomorphy in the English article system among adolescents in London, where I have found high levels of lack of allomorphy among some groups.

For example, 'a apple' is quite frequent as is 'the apple' where 'the' ends in a schwa as opposed to a high front vowel. This would seem to be an innovation among young people here as it does not appear to be present in the speech of older Londoners but I am interested to know of other varieties of English (both in the UK and around the anglophone world) where this lack of allomorphy occurs. I am aware of work on the distribution of 'the' before vowels in NZE.

References to any literature on this feature would also be appreciated. A summary of responses will be posted.

Sue Fox
Dept of Modern Languages
Queen Mary College, University of London
LL Issue: 16.2753
Date posted: 25-Sep-2005



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