On system-driven sound change: Accent shift in Markina Basque

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Regular sound change has been seen as primarily involving the phonologization of fast speech reductions (Browman and Goldstein, 1991; Mowrey and Pagliuca, 1995; Bybee, 1997) or being otherwise motivated by phonetic tendencies (Donegan, 1993). In this paper I argue that systemically-based sound changes lacking phonetic motivation need to be given greater attention as they offer crucial evidence for the organization of the mental lexicon. One area where system-based changes are particularly prominent and clear is in the diachronic restructuring of accentual systems. Here I examine a situation in western Basque where the acquisition of a phonetically-based sound change has triggered the application of other 'compensatory' system-driven changes, giving rise to an extensive restructuration of the accentual system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-129
Number of pages31
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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