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Summary Details

Query:   Allomorphic Variation
Author:  sue fox
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Morphology

Summary:   Regarding query:

Many thanks to the following people who responded to my query:

Bob Allen
Peter Daniels
Robin Dodsworth
Damien Hall
Aixa Heller
Earl M Herrick
Dick Hudson
Hans Lindquist
Todd McDaniels
Ben Rampton
And Rosta
Kim Schulte
Michael Swan
Stan Whitley

Several people reported that the use of 'the' with a schwa ending is a
common feature of many US varieties, particularly in the southern states
but also in the mid-central states of Kansas and Illinois and further east
in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Jersey. In these places, it
was also reported that the use of 'a' in prevocalic position is prevalent
but the suggestion has been that its use is more stigmatised, since there
was reference to 'correcting' the form in more careful speech.

In New York, it was reported that there is a lack of allomorphy with the
definite article but allomorphy occurs with the indefinite article.

On the west coast in Washington and Oregon, it was reported that lack of
allomorphy occurs with both articles and is a growing trend among young
people. It was also noted that liaison after the articles is commonly by
glottal stop, a feature also occurring among London adolescents.

Several people also pointed to the fact that this feature occurs in AAVE
and Michael Swan kindly supplied the following reference:

Mufwene, S [2001]'African-American English' in Algeo, J [Ed] The Cambridge
History of the English Language' Vol V1, CUP 2001

I would still be very interested to hear from anyone who can add any
further comments about this feature and particularly if anyone has noticed
this in any British varieties of English.

Thanks for all your contributions.


LL Issue: 16.2907
Date Posted: 07-Oct-2005
Original Query: Read original query


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