Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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SUMMARYSound changes play a crucial role in historical phonology, and their adequate description must include a typological classification. Graphic material usually offers sufficient evidence for a typology of phonotactic and phonemic change, but reflects phonetic change infrequently. The main types of phonemic change have long since been identified (Penzl 1957, Moulton 1967). A long list of phonetic changes has been established as well (cf. Paul et al. 1989), and most can be shown to have influenced the phonemic system of German in its various historical stages. Many widely differing linguistic approaches have been applied to phonology. The generativists, for example, conceived of speech sounds as bundles of distinctive features drawn from a universal set of elements defined on a strictly binary basis. Although this approach as a whole is problematic with regard to the analysis of historical sound change, the description of language-specific features can be very fruitful. Three pairs of features significant in the history of German are examined in the present paper: [±long], [±rounded], [±diphthongal]. Features of phonemes may be either distinctive or redundant. In the Germanic languages [+rounded] is redundant for back vowels such as /o/ /u/, but distinctive for front vowels: this feature distinguishes NHG long and short /ö/ /u/ from long and short /e/ A/. The features [±long] are distinctive for vowels through much of their history in the Germanic languages, although they are seldom directly represented ortho-graphically. Distinctive features can also be purely allophonic, that is, phonetically but not phonemically distinctive (e.g., [-diphthongal] at the beginning of the OHG and ENHG monophthongizations). Distinctive features may undergo many types of change as a language develops. The present paper does not attempt a complete typological classification of such changes, but offers a brief illustration of their usefulness in historical phonology. [Margaret Hall]RÉSUMÉLes types de changement des phonèmes et les différents changements phonétiques, qui se produisent dans l'histoire de la langue allemande, ont €i€ reconnus et decrits depuis longtemps. Dejà en 1901, Eduard Sievers avait distingué le changement phonétique graduel des changements phonotactiques. Le présent travail propose que, à côté de la description synchronique des traits distinctifs et redondants des phonèmes comme, par exemple, [long], [rond], [diphtongué], etc., on devrait décrire également le changement phonétique diachronique comme changement de traits. Dans I'évolution de l'allemand le changement de certaines paires de traits s'est avéré particulierement important.ZUSAMMENFASSUNGDie Typen des Phonemwandels und der phonetischen Veranderungen, die in der deutschen Sprachgeschichte vorkommen, sind erkannt und beschrieben worden. Schon Eduard Sievers (1901) unterschied vom allmahlichen Lautwan-del die phonotaktischen Wandlungen. Neben der synchronischen Beschrei-bung der distinktiven oder redundanten Merkmale der Phoneme wie z.B. [lang], [rund], [zweilautig] und dergleichen sollte diachronisch Lautwandel auch als Merkmalwandel beschrieben werden. In der Geschichte des Deutschen hat sich der Wandel gewisser vokalischer Merkmalpaare als besonders wichtig erwiesen.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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