Tracing the (re-)emergence of /h/ and /j/ onsets through 350 years of books : mergers and merger reversals at the interface of phonetics and phonology

Faculty/Professorship: English and Historical Linguistics  
Author(s): Schlüter, Julia  
Title of the Journal: Folia linguistica : acta Societatis Linguisticae Europaeae
ISSN: 1614-7308
Publisher Information: Berlin [u.a.] : Mouton de Gruyter
Year of publication: 2019
Volume: 40
Issue: 1
Pages: 177-202
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1515/flih-2019-0009
This paper investigates the (re-)emergence of onset consonants in English loans from French, Latin and Greek, spelt with initial ‹u› (> /juː/; e.g. union, use), initial ‹eu› (> /juː/; e.g. eulogy, euphemism), or initial ‹h› (e.g. habit, homogeneous). It analyses Google Books data, exploiting the occurrence of the article allomorph a (rather than an) as a diagnostic of consonantal realisation. The analysis yields a fine-grained description of the (re-)emergence of consonantal onsets. It shows that their emergence has been a gradual process and has not reached completion yet. On a theoretical level, the paper discusses the interaction between categorical phonological processing and fine-grained phonetic distinctions in an exemplar-based framework. It also sheds light on the question of (near-)mergers and their potential reversibility.
GND Keywords: Französisch ; Latein ; Griechisch ; Lehnwort ; Englisch ; Konsonant
Keywords: h-dropping; glide formation; filled-onset constraint; unmerging of (near-)mergers; categorical perception
DDC Classification: 420 English  
RVK Classification: HF 450     HF 440     HF 193   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 29. January 2021