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Staying away from the weak left edge

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Abstract

The left edge of the word is a strong position; it tends to resist phonological processes and be the left anchor in the formation of hypocoristics, in Hebrew (e.g. [matitjáhu] → [máti]) as well as in other languages. However, when the left edge of the base name hosts a weak segment, it has a good chance of being truncated (e.g. [jisʁaéla] → [ʁéli]). Truncation at the left edge (apheresis), as I show, is gradual; the weaker the segment at the left edge of the base, the greater the tendency to truncate this edge. Truncation at the left edge, as I argue, is a strengthening strategy – strengthening by avoiding the weak.

References

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