Geolinguistic data and the past tense debate

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The present contribution deals with synchronic variation in Dutch past tense regularization, focusing on cognitive and geolinguistic aspects of the phenomenon. Experimental data are presented from a production task and a series of acceptability judgments, carried out among a group of 240 native speaker respondents. An empirical overview shows the relative frequency of regularization, and patterns of regional divergence are highlighted and discussed. Theoretical implications are addressed within the framework of the past tense debate. Both the observed role of token frequency and the discrepancy between usage and acceptability data from a geolinguistic perspective are taken as evidence against traditional dual-route accounts. Further analyses of geographical variation in the findings consider the possibility of analogical support from homophonous regional forms.


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