Anne Merkuur

Analogy across classes and languages: changing 2SG past forms in Frisian

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This paper presents and examines an ongoing analogical change in Frisian, in which the dental past tense suffix from Frisian regular class I verbs spreads to the 2SG past forms of both Frisian strong and irregular verbs and Frisian regular class II verbs, both of which used to lack a past tense suffix. By applying a rule-based analysis, based on Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993), the study specifically investigates whether the developments in Frisian verbal inflection can be accounted for by a model of categorical productivity known as the Tolerance Principle (Yang 2016). By analyzing morphological change from this perspective we aim to reveal how sequential analogical innovations of individual language learners can eventually lead to a broader language change that affects the whole language. Moreover, the analysis illustrates how such individual analogical innovations can indirectly be the result of cross-linguistic influence, as we argue that the intensified pressure from Dutch on Frisian over the past 150 years explains why the changes are occurring in this order and at this specific point in time


  • analogical change
  • verbal inflection
  • productivity
  • tolerance principle
  • Frisian


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