1887
Volume 44, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Abstract

Abstract

Phonaesthemes are a common phenomenon, but they are generally not in paradigmatic opposition like morphemes are (Svantesson 2017: 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 Kwon & Round’s (2015) 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
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