Exploring the role of token frequency in phonological change: evidence from TH-Fronting in east-central Scotland

Lynn Clark, Graeme Trousdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research on frequency effects in phonology suggests that word frequency is often a significant motivating factor in the spread of sound change through the lexicon. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the exact nature of the relationship between phonological change and word frequency. This article investigates the role of lexical frequency in the spread of the well-known sound change TH-Fronting in an under-researched dialect area in east-central Scotland. Using data from a corpus of conversations compiled over a two-year period by the first author, we explore how the process of TH-Fronting is complicated in this community by the existence of certain local variants which are lexically restricted, and we question to what extent the frequency patterns that are apparent in these data are consistent with generalisations made in the wider literature on the relationship between lexical frequency and phonological change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-55
Number of pages23
JournalEnglish Language and Linguistics
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

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