German plural doublets with and without meaning differentiation
This contribution studies the synchrony and diachrony of German plural variants. Plural doublets in the sense of overabundance must be restricted to variants with the same meaning used by one and the same speech community. But there is a preference for distinctiveness which assigns different pragmatic or semantic meanings to variants. This includes also a preference for iconic relationships between form and meaning. The assumption of a preference for biuniqueness appears to allow greater generalizations than the ideal of canonical paradigm forms.