Must sound change be linguistically motivated?

  • Blust R
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Abstract

A number of well-documented sound changes in Austronesian languages do not appear to be either phonetically or phonologically motivated. Although it is possible that some of these canges involved intermediate steps for which we have no direct documentation, the assumption that this was always the case appears arbitrary, and is in violation of Occam's Razor. These data thus raise the question whether sound change must be phonetically motivated, as assumed be the Neogrammarians, or even linguistically motivated, as assumed by virtually all working historical linguistics.

Author-supplied keywords

  • actuation problem
  • austronesian languages
  • bizarre reflexes
  • dissimilation
  • linguistic motivation
  • phonetic motivation
  • sound change
  • sound change, Austronesian languages, phonetic mot

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Authors

  • Robert a. Blust

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