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A Historical Typology of the English Obstruent System

Abstract Various changes to the Common Germanic obstruent system, especially the Northwest Germanic realignment, the Partial Shift, degemination, and the reintroduction of final voice, characterize the development of the English obstruent system and that of its closest relatives in Modern Germanic. Of these, the pre-historic changes will be treated more in depth than the historical changes. The specifically English implementation of these changes will be compared to those in the other languages belonging to the ‘common type’. This type is relatively archaic rather than innovative within the Germanic group, not having undergone a full-fledged Second Consonant Shift or large-scale lenition. English is exceptional only in a few regards. Using the methods of dialect typology, it is found that the modern Germanic dialects with the obstruent systems closest to that of English are those of the majority of Low German, northeastern Dutch, and perhaps West Frisian. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie de Gruyter

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