Variation in Voiced Stop Prenasalization in Greek
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics
Citation:Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 52 (1999), 203-233.
Ancient Greek clusters of nasal (N) plus voiceless unaspirated (T) or voiced stop (D) merged to ND in Middle Greek, yielding mainly ND or D in the modern dialects. Impressionistic studies suggest that currently there is stylistic variation between D and ND in the dialects that have developed these reflexes, with ND as the formal variant. Our study reveals that age, not style, is the most important factor in ND/D variation, with speakers under 40 using dramatically fewer ND tokens than older speakers; at the same time NT, a variant which reflects spelling conventions and is possible only across word boundaries, emerges as a careful style marker. This abrupt change of pattern, which coincides with important sociopolitical changes in Greece and the official demise of Katharevousa, the H(igh) variety of Greek diglossia, suggests that a real sound change in progress away from the previous pattern of stable variation may be taking place in Greece.
Wolfson College and the Astor Travel Fund of the University of Oxford.
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