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The life cycle of phonological processes: accounting for dialectal microtypologies

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    Rights statement: © This is the accepted version of the following article: Ramsammy, M. (2015). The life cycle of phonological processes: accounting for dialectal microtypologies. Language and Linguistics Compass, 9(1), 33-54., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12102

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-54
JournalLanguage and Linguistics Compass
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


This article reviews and exemplifies the theory of the life cycle of phonological processes and illustrates how diachronic phonological changes can be accounted for in a stratal/cyclic model of phonology. The life cycle captures the fact that sound change operates in orderly stages and that phonological processes become increasing integrated with morphosyntactic structure as they age. Phonological rules also often display different rates of application across a given dialect continuum. Thus, the developmental phases that a phonological innovation goes through in its life cycle define a template of language change; and these stages of change reflect synchronic patterns of microtypological variation.

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