Cross-level interactions in West Germanic phonology and morphology
Ph.D. Thesis, 2004
In the last decade, analyses of Germanic phenomena such as Old English
High Vowel Deletion and Sievers' Law in Gothic have demonstrated the important
role played by the trochaic foot in the history of Germanic (e.g., Dresher
and Lahiri 1991, Kim 2000, etc.). Linguists such as Wiese (2000, 2001)
and Booij (1998, 2002) have further shown how prosody can shape morphological
and lexical patterns. However, little work to date has investigated the
impact of prosody on both phonology and morphological classes diachronically.
This dissertation addresses this issue, drawing upon data from West Germanic.
Analyses are provided for the loss of i after heavy stems in both
the Old Saxon i-stem nouns and Old High German jan-verbs
in terms of prosodic templates. These templates define the necessary weight
and size of the stem. A simple template consisting of a moraic trochee
is shown to constrain the i-stem nouns while jan-verbs were
shaped by complex templates minimally one foot, maximally disyllabic.
These complex templates resulted from the convergence of prosodic requirements
from multiple levels of the prosodic hierarchy. In both cases, i
was lost when unmapped to the template; however, when it did map to the
template, i was retained. It is shown that lower level phonotactics
overrode the template if loss of i resulted in phonotactic violations.
The diachronic developments are further linked to a number of modern synchronic
problems, e.g., Dutch diminutives, German i-croppings and plurals
in Dutch and German which are all shaped by the disyllabic trochee which
serves as the template. These data underscore the influence that prosodic
templates rather than feet alone exerted and continue to exert in shaping
West Germanic phonology and morphology. All these phenomena share a common
factor: all are affected by an underlying motivation for words in their
respective paradigm cells to have a particular shape as prescribed by
either simple or complex templates. Furthermore, these complex templates
provide insight into the interaction of multiple levels of the prosodic
hierarchy and the effects of these interactions. It is concluded that
any phonological theory used to account for these phenomena must also
be able to account for cross-level interaction.