Constraints on Spelling Changes
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Dutch compounds with ‘e’ or ‘en’ as linking element between modifier and head were presented to mother tongue speakers of Afrikaans in an experimental setting that explored the possibility that these different spelling formats would suggest a singular or plural meaning of the modifier. The participants appeared to interpret ‘en’ in the linking element as an indication for singular, and ‘e’ as signifying plural. This outcome supported the findings in comparable studies on Dutch, which also revealed a tendency to understand the spelling of the linking schwa in relation to conventions for the spelling of the plural suffix. In Afrikaans the spelling of the plural forms is ‘e’, whereas in Dutch the spelling of plural forms is ‘en’. This explains why the results of the Dutch and Afrikaans experiments, while using the same materials, are each other’s mirror image.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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