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The Perceptual R-Metathesis in Middle English

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Authors
Kang, Eunsoo
Issue Date
2013-12
Publisher
Department of English Language and Literature, Seoul National University
Citation
SNU Working Papers in English Linguistics and Language, Vol.11, pp. 20-48
Keywords
metathesisMiddle Englishr-metathesisperceptual metathesisperceptual optimizationplace of articulationmanner of articulation
Abstract
This study aims to investigate whether the r-metathesis in Middle English is a sporadic sound change or not. The traditional view on the metathesis in English strongly argued that it is sporadic and it can be explained by vowel epenthesis and deletion. However, the result from the analysis of the Middle English variants suggests that words in a certain kind of phonological environments such as Vrst and Vrht have a significantly greater number of metathetic variants. This can be attributed to the perceptual optimization argued by Blevins and Garrett (2005). In other words, perceptual difficulty between /r/, /s/, and /h/ followed by /t/ in coda position might be the cause of the r-metathesis, which provides more plausible explanation than the vowel epenthesis and deletion.
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/92495
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU Working Papers in English Language and LinguisticsSNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics Vol.11 (2013)
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