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A Middle Frankish deletion process and the life cycle of phonological processes

Pronunciation differences often evolve from a grammatical phenomenon into a permanent change in the word itself. This process, known as the life cycle of phonological processes occurs slowly and always in the same direction, but not consistently in terms of speed. The differences between stages lead to the differences between dialects and languages. We attempt to clarify the mechanisms that lie at the foundation of this process from three different branches of linguistics, using the deletion process in Middle Frankish dialects as a case study. These dialects form a historically separate group and also exhibit some interesting correlations in linguistic structure, even though they are spoken in present-day Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. More recent developments have led to these dialects becoming a part of very different standard-dialect conditions. When added to the fact that the deletion process in these dialects has been implemented in subtly different ways, it creates the ideal conditions for the comparative phonological reconstruction of this process and in turn, the study of its life cycle.

Researcher: Frans Hinskens