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Abstract

Abstract

Phonaesthemes are a common phenomenon, but they are generally not in paradigmatic opposition like morphemes are ( : 6). Reta, however, has a phonaesthemic contrast /l/~/r/, where /r/-colouring of neutral base words signifies an increase in vulgarity, intensity, size or severity (e.g. ‘bad’ vs. ‘terrible’, - ‘penis’ vs. - ‘cock’). This paper describes this phenomenon in detail, and provides a discussion as to whether it is best classified as morphological, phonaesthemic, or otherwise. We argue that, although some of the cross-linguistic criteria for phonaesthesia exclude phonaesthemic /r/ from being classified as such, it is not straightforwardly classified as either phonological or morphological. Using criteria for phonaesthesia and derivational morphology, we compare Reta phonaesthemic alternations to similar phenomena in other languages. We argue that such alternations differ fundamentally from both non-alternating phonaesthemes and morphology, and are best construed as a distinct cross-linguistic category.

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2020-08-21
2020-09-26
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