Autonomous typological prosodic evolution versus the Germanic superstrate in diachronic French phonology

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The traditional idea that in Early French, the Frankish superstrate had a major influence on the phonology is mistaken. Facts from Old Frankish itself show that this cannot have been the case. In addition, the phonetic concept on which the idea is based, i.e. the distinction between ‘expiratory’ and ‘melodic’ languages, is outdated and invalid. The facts for which the Frankish influence was invoked find a much more satisfactory explanation if one considers the evolution of the entire prosodic system of the language. The distinction between syllable and word languages, as proposed by Auer & Uhmann (1988), provides a fruitful framework for this.


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