Grammtical prerequisites to phonological change?

Paul T. Roberge


In echoing a well-known title of some thirty-six years ago (Pike 1947), I do not wish to suggest that considerations of meaning and grammatical function have been excluded from the study of diachronic phonology. How to characterize the interface between phonology and morphosyntax across time has stimulated perennial debate, having commanded the attention of several generations of historical linguists from Curtius (1870) and Jespersen (1894) to, most recently, Lass (1980: Ch. 3). With a burgeoning literature on the mechanisms of syntactic change and the renascent interest in morphology, the issue is once more felt to be acute. Our concern, of course, is no longer with the autonomy of one plane from the other. It would seem uncontroversial to assert that grammar plays SOME role in the course of phonological change-- and vice versa. But how to make sense of this truism remains problematic.

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