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How stable are morphological doublets? A case study of /[schwa]/ [similar] Ø variants in Dutch and German

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Carol Fehringer



This paper examines the diachronic development and synchronic status of morphological doublets in Dutch derivation (adjectives in -(e)lijk) and German inflection (genitives in -(e)s) in the light of the commonly held view that functionally equivalent doublets are rare in morphology and, where they do exist, tend to be small in number and diachronically unstable (see, for example, Kroch 1994). It is shown here that large numbers of doublets can thrive for centuries, despite the fact that they require a high degree of arbitrary lexical information, while others tend to be eliminated systematically by organizing words into lexical “gangs” defined by phonological and morphological properties. It is also argued that the lexically conditioned nature of the inflectional doublets provides evidence for the wholesale lexical listing of German genitives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fehringer C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Germanic Linguistics

Year: 2004

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 285-329

Print publication date: 01/12/2004

Date deposited: 13/12/2007

ISSN (print): 1470-5427

ISSN (electronic): 1475-3014

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1470542704040425


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