Patterns of lexical diffusion and articulatory motivation for sound change

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Patterns of lexical diffusion can serve as important diagnostics for the source of sound change. The most common lexical diffusion pattern for sound change is from high frequency words to low frequency words. This pattern is consistent with an articulatory source for change, as compared to a perceptual source. As perception must also play an important role in change, a model that includes the interaction of articulatory and perceptual change is proposed. Another set of changes that are unlikely to have an articulatory source are discussed and their properties are compared to those with articulatory motivation.


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