Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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The “dynamic coevolution of meaning and form” of Bybee et al. (1994: 20) has been the subject of significant discussion as regards the languages of Mainland Southeast Asia. However, little work has focused on the mechanisms through which this coevolution occurs when it does surface in these languages. The current work considers phonological reidentification resulting from phonetic reduction in White Hmong (Hmong-Mien, Laos) involving four morphemes, / ‘maybe’, / ‘see if/whether; ’, /’, and / ‘each, every’. These morphemes exhibit an alternation where a rime is phonologically reidentified in a manner consistent with typical phonetic underarticulation patterns, such that an exemplar-model approach (Pierrehumbert 2001, ) provides a straightforward explanation. Furthermore, the data show that the phonological reidentification patterns found in White Hmong exhibit parallels in other languages in the region, confirming that an areal approach to grammaticalization provides greater descriptive adequacy cross-linguistically as regards this phenomenon.


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