Variable stem-final fricative voicing in American English plurals: Different pa[~ θ]s of change

Laurel Mackenzie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper investigates analogical leveling in a small set of English nouns that have irregular plural forms. In these nouns, all of which end in a voiceless fricative, the fricative standardly voices in the plural (e.g., wolf-wol[v]es, path-pas, house-hou[z]es). Using audio data from three large spoken corpora of American English, I demonstrate that this stem-final fricative voicing is variable and conditioned by a number of factors, most notably the identity of the stem-final fricative-with/f/-final lexemes (e.g., wolf),/θ/-final lexemes (e.g., path), and the/s/-final lexeme house all patterning differently in apparent time- A nd the frequency of a lexeme in its plural form. I argue that the way these two factors affect the variation is reminiscent of the patterns seen in children's first language acquisition errors, providing a potential source for the variation and underscoring the importance of considering morphophonological factors when accounting for patterns of change.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)147-174
    Number of pages28
    JournalLanguage Variation and Change
    Volume30
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

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    levelling
    language acquisition
    time
    Voicing
    Fricatives
    American English
    Plural Forms

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Education
    • Linguistics and Language

    Cite this

    Variable stem-final fricative voicing in American English plurals : Different pa[~ θ]s of change. / Mackenzie, Laurel.

    In: Language Variation and Change, Vol. 30, No. 2, 01.07.2018, p. 147-174.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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