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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: A morpheme-based approach to subtractive pluralisation in German dialects
Author: Björn Köhnlein
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: German
Abstract: Various German dialects delete certain word-final plosives in plural forms (e.g. [hʊnt] ‘dog’ vs. [hʊn] ‘dogs’). I claim that this type of subtractive pluralisation is best analysed as an epiphenomenon resulting from the affixation of a disyllabic trochaic foot. This metrical template can create word-final empty-headed syllables; subtraction targets the onset of these syllables. Independent evidence comes from related phenomena, for the first time unified in a comprehensive account. Firstly, all varieties with word-final consonant subtraction delete the same consonants in the onset of post-tonic syllables containing a vowel. Additionally, some dialects display predictable interactions of consonant subtraction with either vowel shortening or the assignment of tonal accent. The proposal in this paper supports the idea that morphology is generally additive, and that subtraction can be derived from prosodic affixation. I thus argue that using more sophisticated independently motivated phonological representations can help to simplify the morphological grammar.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 35, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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