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Vocalisations Evidence from Germanic

Taylor-Raebel, Gary (2017) Vocalisations Evidence from Germanic. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

A vocalisation may be described as a historical linguistic change where a sound which is formerly consonantal within a language becomes pronounced as a vowel. Although vocalisations have occurred sporadically in many languages they are particularly prevalent in the history of Germanic languages and have affected sounds from all places of articulation. This study will address two main questions. The first is why vocalisations happen so regularly in Germanic languages in comparison with other language families. The second is what exactly happens in the vocalisation process. For the first question there will be a discussion of the concept of ‘drift’ where related languages undergo similar changes independently and this will therefore describe the features of the earliest Germanic languages which have been the basis for later changes. The second question will include a comprehensive presentation of vocalisations which have occurred in Germanic languages with a description of underlying features in each of the sounds which have vocalised. When considering phonological changes a degree of phonetic information must necessarily be included which may be irrelevant synchronically, but forms the basis of the change diachronically. A phonological representation of vocalisations must therefore address how best to display the phonological information whilst allowing for the inclusion of relevant diachronic phonetic information. Vocalisations involve a small articulatory change, but using a model which describes vowels and consonants with separate terminology would conceal the subtleness of change in a vocalisation. The model presented here has therefore been designed to unite the descriptions of consonants and vowels to better demonstrate this change whilst allowing for relevant phonetic information to be included.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Gary Taylor-Raebel
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 09:29
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 09:29
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19698

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