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Abstract

Abstract

At least three types of sound change (prenasalization of obstruents, lenition of obstruents, conversion of labial consonants to the corresponding labiovelars) are widespread in the Austronesian language family as sporadic innovations. What marks these off as different from more familiar types of irregularity is their repeated occurrence across hundreds of related languages, a phenomenon that can conveniently be called “pandemic irregularity.” All attempts to find an explanation for why pandemic irregularities occur in terms of possibly unrecognized affixation, conditioning, borrowing, or unfinished processes, have proven futile. In particular, it is stressed that pandemic irregularity in sound change is fundamentally different from “lexical diffusion”, and deserves to be recognized in its own right as a process that works against the general application of the regularity hypothesis.

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/content/journals/10.1075/jhl.20027.blu
2022-02-03
2022-05-23
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