The Lenition and Deletion of Medial Voiced Obstruents in Afrikaans: Some Internal, External, and Extralinguistic Factors

F.L.M.P. Hinskens

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In Afrikaans, medial /g/, /v/, and /d/ have often been lenited or deleted, sometimes giving rise to alternations or the restructuring of stem forms. After an analysis of the distribution of the processes, some of the morphological consequences are briefly sketched. In order to find out more about the determinants of the lenition or deletion processes, which do not seem to have applied exceptionlessly, a quantitative analysis of lexicographical data containing over 200 different items was carried out. A number of probabilistic phonological and grammatical conditions were uncovered that provided insight into the rule-typological status of the processes. The lenition or deletion of /d/ appears to be sensitive to usage frequency as well. Some of the exceptions are due to sporadic reborrowing from Dutch. Cape Dutch Pidgin, one of the two main roots of modern Afrikaans, developed as a result of contact between 17th-century Dutch settlers and Cape Khoekhoen, who spoke Nàmá. Properties of the Nàmá phonology suggest that at least in Cape Dutch Pidgin, the obstruents that were subject to the lenition and deletion processes in question constituted a natural class.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-271
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Germanic Linguistics
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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