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Alliteration and Sound Change in Early English

Alliteration and Sound Change in Early English

$163.00 (Z)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Linguistics

  • Date Published: March 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521573177

$163.00 (Z)

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About the Authors
  • This study uses evidence from early English poetry to determine when certain sound changes took place in the transition from Old to Middle English. It builds on the premise that alliteration in early English verse reflects faithfully the identity and similarity of stressed syllable onsets; it is based on the acoustic signal and not on the visual identity of letters. Examination of the behaviour of onset clusters leads to new conclusions regarding the causes for the special treatment of sp-, st-, sk-, and the chronology and motivation of cluster reduction.

    • Minkova is a leading phonologist, whose work integrates more recent theory (optimality theory) with in-depth empirical scholarship in historical linguistics
    • She shows how the study of metrics can illuminate crucial issues in the history of English
    • This book helps to explain the emergence and eventual domination of the Chaucerian tradition of metrics in English verse
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book offers a thorough analysis of alliteration in early English, with an eye to using the data to shed light on long-standing problems of English historical phonology. Furthermore, it synthesizes traditional philology with current formal approaches to phonology, namely, a phonetically informed version of Optimality Theory. The book should therefore appeal to both students and scholars of English metrics and to theoretical phonologists." - Marc Pierce, University of Texas

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521573177
    • length: 422 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    List of abbreviations
    1. Social and linguistic setting of alliterative verse in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval England
    2. Linguistic structures in English alliterative verse
    3. Segmental histories: velar palatalization
    4. Syllable structure
    5. ONSET and cluster alliteration in Old English: the case of sp-, st-, sk-
    6. ONSET and cluster alliteration in Middle English
    7. Verse evidence for cluster simplification in Middle English
    Index of names
    Subject index.

  • Author

    Donka Minkova, University of California, Los Angeles
    Donka Minkova is Professor of English Language at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published widely in the fields of English and Germanic historical phonology and syntax, historical dialectology and English historical metrics. She is the author of The History of Final Vowels in English (1991) and of English Words: History and Structure (with Robert Stockwell, Cambridge University Press, 2001). She is also co-editor, with Robert Stockwell of Studies in the History of the English Language: A Millennial Perspective.

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