Languages of Papua New Guinea

Toward paradigm uniformity: A longitudinal study in Alamblak

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Issue Date:
2017-12
Date Created:
2017-05-19
Extent:
pp 364-394
Abstract:
This study documents the analogical changes in the speech of four Alamblak men over a period from twenty-five to thirty-eight years. The data reveal many changes were not apparently phonologically predictable by several phonological hypotheses that have been proposed in the literature on paradigm leveling. Many changes made by the subjects of the study were reversed by themselves over the time period of the study. The reversals of earlier changes suggests that change is influenced by existing paradigms and the autonomy and automatization of allomorphs in certain lexical contexts. The idiosyncratic nature of other changes suggest that they were not entirely determined by those processes of language use, but that speaker initiated grammar replacement had occurred, perhaps motivated by a goal of paradigmatic uniformity. The study points out that young speakers were faced with a surface complexity of alternating morphemes due to a highly abstract phonological system underlying the adult speech in 1970.
Description:
This article is also available at http://muse.jhu.edu/article/677285
This study documents complete paradigm uniformity of a single verb conjugation based on the second person singular stem which is the least marked stem in the Immediate Past Tense form of verbs in Alamblak. One of the subjects in this study used a uniform paradigm for one verb based on the first person singular form of the stem, arguably the most autonomous stem of the paradigm. This subject later abandoned this optimal paradigm and reverted to a paradigm that resembled in some aspects the adult speech from the 1970's.
Publication Status:
Published
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Part of Series:
Oceanic Linguistics, 56(2)
Entry Number:
72039