Modelling analogical change: A history of Swedish and Frisian verb inflection

Strik, O., 2015, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 319 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Oscar Strik
Why did Shakespeare write 'shak’d' when we say 'shook'? Why do some people say 'dived' and others 'dove'?

These questions have to do with how we inflect verbs for past tense, and how those strategies vary across time and space. This dissertation sheds light on the issue through case studies of verbs in Swedish and Frisian, and by using analogy (structural similarity) as a way of explaining language change. In the first half of the book the development of verbal inflection in the Germanic languages is treated, along with more detailed histories of that inflection in Swedish and Frisian.

The second part is dedicated to analogy. The hypothesis is that verbs that sound alike will tend to have the same kind of past tense inflection as well. After an introduction of the concept of analogy, it is applied to the data described in the first half of the book. Using two analogical computer models, changes from the history of Swedish and Frisian are recreated, and the successes and failures of the models show how well analogy can explain inflection class changes in these languages. In addition, the analogical modelling findings are related to frequency, leading to the conclusion that analogy and frequency together determine patterns of stability and shift in verbal inflection classes.

Finally, the two appendices of this dissertation contain historical mini-dictionaries of verbs with strong inflection in the Germanic languages.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Norde, Muriel, Supervisor
  • Nerbonne, John, Supervisor
  • Versloot, Arjen P., Supervisor, External person
  • Noord, van, Gertjan, Assessment committee
  • Nübling, D, Assessment committee, External person
  • Fischer, O.C.M., Assessment committee, External person
Award date15-Oct-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs9789036781527
Electronic ISBNs9789036781510
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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