2004
Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171

Abstract

Abstract

In present-day Frisian there is an ongoing change in the inflection of verbs. Frisian has two classes of regular verbs (class I and class II), and for some speakers of Frisian some verbs or verb forms appear to shift from class II to class I. In her 2021 dissertation Anne Merkuur presents an empirical investigation of these and some related changes, and discusses how they can be explained. In her analysis she makes use of the theory of productivity developed in Yang (2016) that aims to make a principled distinction between productive and unproductive rules. A rule is only productive if there are not too many exceptions, and this tolerance threshold can be computed. Merkuur argues that both class I and class II verbs are subject to productive rules, and thus the number of class I verbs can in principle be extended. Yet, the external factor of language contact between Frisian and Dutch appears to be a crucial factor in these morphological changes. This review article provides a critical discussion of the theoretical models and concepts used in Merkuur’s analysis, and additional considerations for why language contact between Frisian and Dutch must be a crucial factor in this kind of morphological change.

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2022-10-01
2022-11-29
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