Redevelopment of a Morphological Class

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Coronal stop deletion (or TD Deletion) is the paradigm sociolinguistic variable . It was first described in African American English (Labov et al . , 1968) as a rule whereby word final / Ct / and / Cd / clusters simplify by deleting the coronal stop . It has since been found in many dialects and varieties of English . Aside from the very regular phonological and phonetic factors which condition whether TD Deletion applies , morphological structure also appears to have an effect . The three morphological categories of primary interest are (i) monomorphemes} , (ii) regular past tense verbs and (iii) semiweak past tense verbs . In almost every dialect studied , the order of morphological classes from least favoring deletion to most favoring deletion is as given in (1) . (1) monomorphemes > semiweak > regular past tense In this paper , I will be focusing on the difference between semiweak and regular past tense . I will pursue a revised version of the analysis in Guy & Boyd (1990) , casting it in terms of Competing Grammars and Distributed Morphology . Specifically , I will propose that the rate of phonological TD Deletion is the same for the regular past and the semiweak . What leads to higher TD Absence in the semiweak verbs is variable morphological absence of / t / , i . e . , there is a competing morphological analysis where the past tense of keep is simply " kep " , instead of " kept " .
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2012


  • distributed morphology
  • langauge variation
  • morphology
  • phonology


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