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Phonology as human behavior

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Abstract

This paper summarizes the theory and methodology of Phonology as Human Behavior (PHB) (or Columbia School Phonology) and applies it to the inflectional morphology of English both synchronically and diachronically. The basic hypothesis is that inflectional morphology is both functional and frequent and should therefore be composed of phonemes that are unmarked or relatively easy to make. My second hypothesis is that this tendency for favoring unmarked phonemes in inflectional morphology should increase over time. I examine the phonological components of the inflectional morphology of Modern English and compare them with the phonological components of the inflectional morphology of Old and Middle English and then trace the parallel development of inflectional morphology in Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic to Old English.

References

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