"Frequency Effects in the Lexical Diffusion of Phonological Change". Betty S. Phillips, Indiana State U. [email protected] LSA Summer Institute Workshop on Variation, Gradience, and Frequency in Phonology, 6-8 July 2007, Stanford U. Lexical Diffusion.
Betty S. Phillips, Indiana State U. [email protected] Summer Institute Workshop on Variation, Gradience, and Frequency in Phonology, 6-8 July 2007, Stanford U.
"Rarely-used words drag behind; very frequently used ones hurry ahead. Exceptions to the sound laws are formed in both groups." -- Schuchardt (1885: 58)
“We find no strong evidence for lexical diffusion in the (æh) patterns of Detroit and Buffalo and Chicago.”. . . .
Despite some initial oscillations the (æh) word class seems to move upward as a whole, with fine phonetic conditioning in the process. There is some indication that the word mad is lower than its phonetic class would justify for several speakers. . . .the low position of mad as compared to bad, ads, etc. , seems to be lexically determined." (93 – my bold).
Alba (2003): la 'the' or una 'a' + vowel-initial nouns (e.g., iglesia 'church', hija 'daughter') in 20 hours of tape-recorded interviews with 20 native speakers of Spanish.
Strings with high ratio frequency underwent hiatus resolution 87 per cent of the time, compared to 48 per cent for strings with low ratio frequency. That is, high string frequency positively impacted vowel reduction.
"We do not find a relationship between token frequency and diphthongization....[H]ighly frequent items such as krijgen, tijd (>200) do not behave differently. . . from items such as vijg (0) and vijl (2). And among the items showing diphthongs rather often, such as vrijdag, vrijen, vrij, fijn and vijf, both low and high frequencies occur."
-- Goeman et al. (1993)
--Janda and Joseph (2003)
Bybee, J. 2001. Usage-Based Phonology. p. 22:
Gerhand & Berry (1998): accommodation people “modify their pronunciation of naming latencies in the reading by 33 British college students of 64 words, divided into the following 4 categories: (a) early-acquired, high frequency (win, cousin); (b) early-acquired, low-frequency (elf, rattle); (c) late-acquired, high-frequency (sex, union); (d) late-acquired, low frequency (cue, marvel) They found that the two effects , , , were "entirely additive: Participants were faster to read aloud early-acquired than late-acquired words and were also faster to name high-frequency than low-frequency words."
“Labov’s (1994) assessment of the ‘neogrammarian controversy’ provides striking confirmation of regular sound change at the level of the individual, and lexical diffusion at the level of speech communities.” (Blevins 2004)
THE END low-level phonetic output supports the view that what seem to be