The germanic verschärfung and prosodic change

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This investigation of Germanic Verscharfung distinguishes between two types of phonological change. Sound change affects only the phonetic features of a segment whereas prosodic change consists of a change in the rhythmic structure of a language. The fixing of initial stress in Germanic is a prosodic change which conditions the gemination of intervocalic glides following short, previously unstressed vowels. However, the gemination of glides is irregular since prosodic change is phonetically abrupt but lexically gradual and may therefore lead to irregular changes on the segmental level. In contrast, the second stage of Germanic Verschärfung, the fortition of geminate glides to geminate obstruents in East and North Germanic, is an exceptionless sound change in which [-consonantal] becomes [+consonantal].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-334
Number of pages38
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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